Game Design, Game Based Learning, & Teaching with Portals
Getting there (a not-so-brief introduction)It's Not Just a Game—It's Skills for Life” from Educators' eZine. From 2008 to to 2011 I built a CIT class around the idea of Applying computer skills in Project Based Learning. It was marginally successful, but I still wasn't getting the results I wanted with at least half of my students, in terms of
- deep thinking,
- & over technology fluency.
Fast forward to now: Games and Gamification are a huge part of my class. All of my students are engaged, thinking deeply, and even demonstrating technology fluency. Most of them, through the use of Gamestar Mechanic, which uses game-based quests and courses to help students learn game design and make their own video games!
Why Game design?
STEM & FluencyDespite the challenge, focusing on Game design from a systems analysis and design thinking perspective, rather than a programming or 3d art perspective allows my Middle School students to engage the ISTE NETS and 21st Century Skills, as they solve problems that require them to seek out and synthesize knowledge from different domains. They begin to tread into the domain of STEM, even as seventh graders. Designing a balanced game, one with flow, involves system-based thinking, problem solving, collaboration, art, storytelling, and digital media literacy. It involves "Systems-Thinking" and "User-Centered Design". To develop even a simple game in Gamestar Mechanic or Test Chamber, using Portal 2's Puzzle Maker, a student must act as sociotechnical engineer, thinking about how people will interact with a system and how said systems shape both competitive and collaborative social interaction.
Finally, game design has been a great venue to display technology fluency, or "the ability to determine and use the appropriate technology tool(s) for the task at hand in a manner that allows seamless transfer of created objects and documents to flow easily between the selected tools without outside intervention" (Davis, 2008) and Meta-Level Reflection, The ability to explicate and defend ones ideas, describe issues and interactions at a meta-level, create and test hypotheses, and reflect on the impact of derived solutions on others.
Join the conversation
Edmodo:If you're using Teach with Portals or Gamestar Mechanic, I would like to once again extend my invitation to our Edmodo Group. There are a lot of teachers on board already but only one or two classes of students actually participating. I would love to have your students.
- Continue Issue #3 (p. 11)
- Valve Developer Community Portal 2 Puzzle Maker
- Gamestar Mechanic Trailer
- Gamestar Learning Guide