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WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation

Fostering Creativity and Community with a Platform Video Game

Opportunities for student collaboration, peer assessment, and rigorous design challenges abound in the puzzle video game LittleBigPlanet 2, where users are given the same toolset as the game's creators to build and share their own levels. Get tips for implementing LittleBigPlanet 2 in the classroom.

Fostering Creativity and Community with a Platform Video Game (Transcript)

Mark: The idea of making computer game is, to a lot of people, is probably quite an intimidating or something they think only geniuses can do. It's just not true.

Kareem: Little Big Planet is an all in one tool set.

James: While it ships with a hundred levels, you get to make your own levels using exactly the same tools that we do.

John: It really appealed to me, being able to build whatever I could think of really.

James: Once you've made those levels, you get to publish them on the internet and you get to share them with your friends and with everyone else in the world.

James: And we have just over six million levels and games up there now.

Christophe: It's just a platform for creation.

Alex: If you like, it's a Lego crossed with a YouTube crossed with a platform game.

John: Most computer games judge your skill or your ability in the game based on how many kills you've got or how fast you can get around a track, which can be judged by computer. The only people who can really judge levels in Little Big Planet are other real life human beings. A computer can't say if art is amazing or not; only another human can.

Alex: We coined this phrase, "Play, Create, Share," for the first game, but we didn't actually realize how true that was.

James: I think the only way you can really learn from what you've made is to see what other people think of it. To go through that whole process of people enjoying what you've made but also judging what you've made.

Alex: What Media Molecule provides is this idea of education and mutual community support.

Christophe: Collaboration is so essential. You can create something really good by yourself, in your cave. But if you don't listen to any advice and any critics, or you're like, "Ha, ha, I don't care about those guys who don't like my levels," you will never learn, you will never progress.

Alex: We realized that it was that cycle of showing something off that really motivated and allowed people who didn't consider themselves creative to totally get motivated and make stuff.

Christophe: When you play together, when you create together, I made something and my colleague takes it and improves it. And then I get it back and it's like, "Wow, that's really nice." And then, "Ah, that gives me another idea."

James: Some people are artists, some people are more like programmers, some people make music.

Kenneth: People who kind of adopt, they kind of wear the hat of the educator and they take great pleasure in explaining to other users in the community how stuff works. So they'll build a level which is effectively a tutorial.

Kengo: They learn something, think "Hey, this is amazing," and then want to learn, just pass on that knowledge. And I think that's something very inherently human really.

Alex: And you learn so much from seeing what masters have done and being able to take it apart and put it back together again.

James: The more that we enable people to create stuff together, the more kind of an explosion of creativity we get, that we could never have anticipated.

Alex: The most satisfying thing with me, with Little Big Planet is, at its core, it's quite simple, but I've seen people use it in ways that I could never have imagined.

Kareem: Personal expression I think is one of those things that will never go. Everybody has a story to tell and that's a very human thing.

James: Showing people that they can, if they're given the right tools, they can make stuff that's really great.

John: Everything I see, almost on a daily basis, is completely brand new and I often ask myself, "How did they do that?"

Mark: They'll just do something that's really off the wall, that could be disaster, but it can also end up being the next massive thing.

James: So ultimately, it's about just removing the barriers to creativity.

Kengo: When you're making stuff in real life, you know, there's only so much you can really do. What's nice about this is that you can just keep going really, and if things go wrong, that's fine.

Mark: Empowerment is a word that we use a lot when talking about Little Big Planet.

Alex: As a kid, I'd never reached an audience. I could make my Lego model and I could never show it to anyone. But now, you know, the generation younger than me is capable of reaching millions of people.

Mark: The realization that you've got the ability to kind of change your world around you and make things happen.

Kareem: It doesn't make you sit on the sofa and watch it, or interact with it. It actually takes you inside it and makes you contribute to it. It changes the console from being an entertainment device to an expressive tool.

Mark: If you can give somebody tools that make it feel like you're playing a game or that you're having fun, then the learning is almost accidental.

Alex: These days, that's the future.

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  • Director / Camera / Editor: JR Sheetz
  • Associate Producer, Edutopia: Douglas Keely
  • Senior Manager of Video, Edutopia: Amy Erin Borovoy
  • Special Thanks: Media Molecule, Adam Ingram-Goble

This video was originally produced by Institute of Play, and was made possible through generous support from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

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Intrigued by game-based learning, but not sure where to begin? Edutopia's new series takes a look at game-like learning principles in action and commercial games in real classrooms -- and offers tips and tools for bringing them into your own practice. Made With Play is a co-production with Institute of Play.
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