Games atelier was developed to provide a first good example of how games and simulations can be used in education.

The project was developed in 2008 in collaboration with Creative Learning Lab, the local authority of Amsterdam en four secondary schools in Amsterdam to develop a first good example of how games and simulations can be used in education. Teachers at the time lacked knowledge and experience concerning this subject. Also, there were no games created yet that focused on developing skills or that could be integrated in the learning curriculum.

The point of departure for Games Atelier was the idea that knowledge is recalled better when students transform it into game formats themselves, and when it is experienced on authentic, relevant locations. The games that students developed during the project used the students’ direct surroundings as a source of information and as the setting for a gaming storyline. Pupils came up with a story and game rules and placed various media and assignments on a digital map. Then they navigated the real world using their mobile phones and created media while doing this.

The launch

The first game created by pupils was played on march 14, 2008 by the mayor of Amsterdam, Job Cohen. He then became known as the first gaming major. The game he played was selected by a jury that picked this one from 7 games that were developed by pupils of the secondary school Atheneum Lyceum in Amsterdam.