Building a Better Mousetrap: How Design-Based Research was Used to Improve Homemade PowerPoint Games

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This paper is a review of a three-cycle, design-based research study that explored the relationship between the pedagogical research and the actual implementation of a game design project using Microsoft PowerPoint. Much of the initial literature on using homemade PowerPoint games showed no significant improvement in test scores when students created these low-tech games, despite the fact that the game project was grounded in sound pedagogical strategies. After each iteration changes were made to better reflect the recommendations from the literature, and at the end of the study, students creating games were performing statistically higher on tests than their counterparts who did not create games. Limitations of the study are discussed, as well as ideas for future research in the area of student-generated games as an instructional approach.


First online: 09 June 2016.