Guest Blogger and BrainPOP Educator Steve Isaacs share his methods for incorporating game design into his classroom. You can find the post in it’s original form on Steve’s blog, games and learning
Recently @techucation reached out to ask for some resources and ideas related to teaching Video Game Design and Development. I responded to his inquiry and realized it would serve as a worthwhile blog post to share with the educational community. Below is a general description of my 7th and 8th grade courses. In 7th grade, I teach a six week introduction to video game design and digital storytelling. In 8th grade I teach a full semester course in video game design and development. I have also developed and teach the full semester course as an online high school course for The VHS Collaborative (http://thevhscollaborative.org/). I hope you find the information helpful as I would love to see more courses evolve that teach important 21st century skills through game design.
Currently, I am enrolled in the doctoral program in Educational Technology at Boise State University and the focus of my research is the pedagogical benefits of game design and development. Some of the concepts I find most worthwhile to research further include constructionism, design based thinking, increasing female involvement in computer science, and ultimately the notion behind developing a scalable curriculum to teach game design and development from upper elementary school through high school.
Gamestar Mechanic is a great point of entry (and beyond). My 7th graders spend about 3 weeks in a unit using Gamestar Mechanic (http://www.gamestarmechanic.com). In that unit, I have them work through the Free Quest Line (Addison Joins the League) which takes them through the 5 episodes ending with the ability to create original games from scratch. After that I have students create their own game. Typically, it is a 5 level game of increasing difficulty that exemplifies good game design principles. Prior to starting their game I have them complete a design document that is used for brainstorming / pre-writing.