Using PS3 game Little Big Planet for education

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Wikipedia about Little Big Planet

LittleBigPlanet, commonly abbreviated LBP, is a puzzle platform video game series created by Media Molecule and published by Sony Computer Entertainment across multiple PlayStation platforms. The series follows the adventures of Sackboy and has a large emphasis on gameplay rather than being story-driven. All of the games in the series put a strong emphasis on user-generated content and are based on the series’ tagline “Play, Create, Share”. The tagline represents the three core elements of the series; Playing alone or with others online or on the same console, creating new content using the in-game creation tools and sharing creations and discoveries online with other players.

The core mechanics of the series revolve around its tagline “Play, Create, Share”.


The Play component involves players taking control of Sackboy and navigating him through various levels. In the first two instalments of the series, gameplay consisted primarily, but not entirely, of traditional two-dimensional platforming like jumping and avoiding obstacles to successfully navigate to the end of a level to win. Since LittleBigPlanet 2, gameplay has expanded to being a “platform for games” with the introduction of numerous mini-games and other genres into the game, diversifying the game from being strictly a traditional platform game. Most LittleBigPlanet games involve a player playing solo or co-operatively with friends to navigate through a level whilst collecting various “bubbles” along the way. These bubbles come in two types: Small ones, known as Score Bubbles, which constitute points and larger ones, known as Prize Bubbles, that contain new costumes, stickers, or other types of collectibles. These collectibles can be used in level creation or to customise Sackboy. There are also numerous co-operative parts of levels whereby certain prize bubbles can only be collected with the help of at least one player or more depending on the number of players stated in the level.


The Create component primarily refers to level creation in the game, on which LittleBigPlanet places a major emphasis; it also can refer to other things, such as character customisation. Players can create their own levels with the built-in level creator. Many items that are collected while playing through the story mode and from LittleBigPlanet’s community can be used to help with level creation. These levels can remain as the original LittleBigPlanet platforming gameplay, or they can be expanded to many other game types, such as racing, fighting, shooting, sports and nearly any other game type that the player can think of. The player can also make non-gaming creations such as music and films (films are commonly known in-game as cut-scenes). In LittleBigPlanet 2, Sackbots were introduced to give players more control over Non Playable Characters in their levels as well as make the levels in their entirety more intelligent (for example, Sackbots can be in various areas of a level and control things in it which the player cannot). The creation technique introduced on the game gave the possibility for logic, and it gave the ability to build sets of machines and complex contraptions.


Lastly, the Share component relates to sharing creations with the game’s community by uploading levels to the PlayStation Network. To-date there are in excess of eight million user-created levels available to play in the PlayStation 3 games. Since the release of LittleBigPlanet 2 and the community website, the Share component has also had a strong emphasis sharing discoveries. Players are encouraged to share levels they find with other players by writing reviews and comments in-game and by sharing links to creations’ pages via social networks.


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LittleBigPlanet Games – Better Learning Through Creativity



“The Unorthodox Academia”

In LittleBigPlanet, the users can create or play levels to their liking.  To an escapist’s point of view, it’s a very reserved medium of recreation and hits the ‘off-switch’ of reality and barriers that come into play within the real world, through tweaking the controls indefinitely, to creating your own avatar with which to play levels and communicate with friends who live many miles away.  It’s just a little bit more than that, but it always is a little bit more than that… LittleBigPlanet goes above and beyond what you know and what you’re aware of, and seeks to achieve new highs in creative potential.  So, why isn’t such a gigantic form of creation considered a medium of education, yet?  Oh… but it is.
Thanks to the well-presented LittleBigPlanet Classroom, the means of education are put into play once and for all.  The site’s webmaster, Adam Renard, is responsible for administering such an extravagant part in the potential system of education through playing and creating in LittleBigPlanet, and is also now a highly-regarded acolyte of the Awesomesauce clan, having been awarded the prestigious pin after his endeavor hit mainstream LittleBigPlanet media last month.  Congratulations to him!
Now, how can we expand the fields of creativity and recreation through education?  It’s not so simple, but when you think of the puzzles that you’ll solve throughout each and every level, and considering the idea that gameplay is equal to one unique puzzle within a level, it’s easy to see how education can come into play.  It’s all in the context, and it doesn’t really matter which field the level may reside – through preschooler alphabet learning all the way to aerospace engineering, it can all be accomplished through LittleBigPlanet… somehow.
LittleBigPlanet has an articulate history of giving players what they want in return for completing puzzles – even in some of the paid ‘almost straight to your popit’ DLC.  Coincidentally, that would be the History pack… but, whatever.  So, through presenting stickers, decorations, materials, sounds, costumes and interactive music, is it possible to start a new generation of students who learn base material entirely through playing LittleBigPlanet?  Your choice, devs.

LittleBigPlanet 2 Used for STEM 2012 Competition

December 13, 2011 –

Add-A-Tudez Entertainment Company and Team KAIZEN won a grant from HASTAC and The MacArthur Foundation to develop educational levels using the PlayStation 3 game LittleBigPlanet 2 ( The levels created by the team have since went live among the over five million user created levels that are already free to play in the LittleBigPlanet Community.

Because of those levels, the group was subsequently asked by Montana’s Office of Public Instruction (OPI) to give a presentation in Helena earlier this year. Among those in attendance were members of Great Falls Public Schools and Sunnyside Elementary. After the presentation they spoke to the team, which inevitably lead to the formation of a test group of 8 students (4 boys, 4 girls and ranging in grades 4-6) called the Great Falls Public Schools’ LittleBigPlanet Club.

The group of children are learning how to create content for LittleBigPlanet 2 for 2 days out of the week, with a third day dedicated to researching topics related to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) and History. This is so that the group can be split into two teams (two girls and two boys) that will each build one level based on what they’ve learned. These levels will be shown off live at the 2012 STEM Expo in Great Falls in April.

“We’re very excited to be teaming up with GFPS and Sunnyside on this project,” said Josh Hughes in an email to GP. “We feel one of the best ways for educational content and games to come together is through games like LittleBigPlanet that support user-created content. It’s been a crazy start–the kids are jumping in with both feet and researching their topics ways most kids hate to do, because they’re not doing it for a book report anymore they’re looking for inspiration for their LittleBigPlanet projects!”

You can check out this local news report on the program here.

You can learn more about the work that Add-A-Tudez Entertainment Company does by


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LittleBigPlanet Games – Too Cool For School?



Using LittleBigPlanet Games for education

Years have passed and we’re all pretty much familiar with how ingenious LittleBigPlanet is, as it stands.  Day in, day out, people create the esoterically imaginable.  Limits truly are the drive behind creation, forcing ingenuity out of limitation and creativity out of its lack.  Forevermore we’re subject to a stream of unconscious flows circling beautifully into our minds, in irregular bursts, powering the imagination core hidden deep within our heads.  Once again we’re frivolously frantic, and we have LittleBigPlanet to thank.  That’s great… how can we go further?It’s simple!  We bring in education… wait, what?

The exposed learning environment

Just give that explicit thought a minute to sink in.  Think about how we’re exposed to learning throughout our life, more specifically the early golden years in which nonchalance nonchalantly shuffled to the peak of the priority pyramid.  Education was always a given, it was second-nature and it wasn’t demanding.  As the years went by it became more important, tests flow in rapidly and studying became crucial.  Soon the ambivalence grew with every black-printed white page, foregrounding anxiety and the metaphorical creature on your back telling you to be the very best.

Taking fun for granted

It was all a bit of a rush, looking back on it.  We take fun for granted now, thanks to Media Molecule.  So why on Earth can’t we risk a hybrid here; fun and education?  By definition, the terms simply weren’t meant to coexist in the same mood in the same clause.  However, we think it just might work.  Whether this is used as downloadable content or made possibly by LittleBigPlanet in the classroom… well, that’s up to everyone else.We can use LittleBigPlanet as a medium of education, this was always known.  We can convey simple messages to just about anyone here – morals, allegories, cautionary tales with personification to lubricate the rough, serrated edges of life.  Things we took for granted many years ago (and still may take for granted), mainly fairy tales, are the perfect example of the cheeky work-and-play unison.  While children were enjoying the comical tone of whichever Disney classic tickles their fancy, they were appreciating great morals throughout.  We’d very much like to step up the tone on either side, still giving a fun time overall. Think of the bigger picture – core subjects condensed into an easy-going experience for users… and to top it all off, we’d probably want Stephen Fry to narrate it all, too.

The microcosmic and macrocosmic approach

There are two approaches to this medium of education we’d like to have in Craftworld.  There are the microcosmic and macrocosmic features which can be obtained from LittleBigPlanet as a whole.In the microcosmic theory, we take things which have already been made possible in LittleBigPlanet and we further the understanding to be applicable not only in real life, but LittleBigPlanet too.  Think of things that we already have that the typical “Play, Create and Share”-er will be familiar with – core subjects of language and mathematics, the arts and sport studies.  They’re all naturally usable in real life, and we can advance the user’s understanding by adding more complex theories and approaches to each one.  This is a very much feasible feat, considering the basics of these curriculum branches are at least unconsciously added and developed in the LittleBigPlanet games – competitiveness, puzzle-solving, beauty in design and narrative are represented verily throughout the entire franchise.

Now for the macrocosmic theory – we’re taking things which have had little to no introduction in the LittleBigPlanet franchise, and we’re forcing it through heuristic mediums.  By doing this, we can at least develop a small understanding of a totally new topic to users, where the four common curriculum branches have a small leeway in each specialist segregation.  These practices are common in real life and share some usage in LittleBigPlanet, but they go further and are generally more advanced.  The usage of language can be developed into learning a new language; puzzle-solving can introduce basic math and algebra, branching eventually into advanced level engineering and the like.  Design can be further established into appreciation of fine art and music, while competition can branch into several professional studies such as the sciences, including biology, psychology, sociology and so on.

Final thoughts?

So why hasn’t this been covered yet?  Well, our best guess is that developers are not yet ready to take the rest of demeaning LittleBigPlanet, a game all about playing, creating and sharing.  We’re all about learning, sure, but it’s not a primary function of LittleBigPlanet at all.  One day it could be – and such, suffixed to the motto ad “Play, Create, Share and Learn”.  We’re all wondering about it here, and how it could possibly be produced in LittleBigPlanet 3, if the rumours are true… fingers crossed, and don’t drop out of school quite yet!If the thought of LittleBigPlanet in a global curriculum certainly sounds like your cup of (hot or iced) tea, then be certain to follow@LBPClassroom on Twitter!


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LittleBigPlanet Wants to Teach You Math and Science

Sony looking to introduce the PlayStation 3 as a teaching resource.

By Chris Pereira, 03/15/2011 
Little Big Planet 2
Through the Folding@home initiative, the PlayStation 3 was able to help contribute data to research being done on a variety of diseases. Sony is now aiming for yet another bullet point to add to the system’s “it only does everything” tagline by introducing it as a teaching tool.”Games consoles don’t just play games, they are sophisticated media players,” Sony Computer Entertainment Europe’s Ray Maguire told MCV. “There is no reason why you can’t play open standard educational content such as videos, audio and web-based lessons through a games console like the PlayStation. There is also increasing empirical evidence that games-based technologies, if used with curriculum-based content, raises student attainment, improves engagement and attendance.”The PlayStation Move and LittleBigPlanet 2 in particular are being targeted as ways to help get PlayStation 3 systems into schools. Media Molecule is currently at work on special ‘teacher packs’ for the game that could help its effort to be used in the classroom.”LittleBigPlanet is a game based around physics and within the game you can create your own level — millions do this already. We are going to be creating teacher packs where class teachers with a specialist subject knowledge in science, technology, engineering and maths — the stem subjects — create ‘levels’ with content aligned to their specific age range.” Maguire added, “The pack will be a really useful way of starting to track and develop interest and involvement in games-based learning.”In addition to the possibility of using LBP in class, it’s also mentioned that students could work on levels for homework. That would require that families have a PlayStation 3 and a copy of the game at home, though, which could prove to be prohibitively expensive.Sony is hoping that Media Molecule is able to have the teacher packs ready by May for summer classes. That’s no guarantee that it will suddenly be adopted by schools worldwide, but it will be a step towards providing teachers with a new set of tools that could help to keep kids interested at school.

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