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Showing posts from November, 2013

Leveling up: Best beginner tools for taking game design to the next level in the classroom?

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This is not a guide. This is a conversation. Hopefully the comments on this post will be more useful than my ramblings. With that said, let me hit you with the premise.

The PremiseGame design is a great jumping off point for introducing STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) learning through the lens of systems-thinking and user-centered design while stopping short of providing any real foundation in coding, programming, or engineering, areas covered in the realm of game development. I would like to find a way to begin the transition from game design to game development in my classroom, in order to move from STEM theory (ideas and concepts) to STEM skills (concrete practice).

Game Design is concerned with studying the concepts behind the basic elements of a game, and how the balance of fun and challenge in games creates flow. It is also concerned with the iteration feedback loop and how games are a complex system designed around creating a satisfying user experience.Game deve…

Teachers, Let's fix this PowerPoint thing

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“PowerPoint doesn’t kill meetings. People kill meetings. But using PowerPoint is like having a loaded AK-47 on the table: You can do very bad things with it.”
Peter Norvig, Google Director of Research I'm going to take a break from talking about games and project-based learning and focus instead today on design. Specifically, I want to talk about a tool that is in most of our boxes these days: presentation software. You know, PowerPoint, Google Presentation, Impress, Keynote, Empressr, etc. We all use it to teach. Many of us use it as a tool for student projects. Most of us love it and hate it. In most circumstances, presentations are fun to make, awkward to give, and terrible to watch. What's going on?

Show & Tell The main key here is Show & Tell. The presentation tool shows and you tell.

I often illustrate this point by having my students access prior knowledge of Show & Tell with a think-pair-share. Students are encouraged to re-live their favorite Show & Te…

Hey, Computer Teachers, stop wasting students' time! (Part 2)

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In my previous post, I argued that mandatory computer courses, particularly on the secondary level (7th grade and beyond) should move beyond a myopic focus on keyboarding and Microsoft Office.  I did note that a curriculum steeped in keyboarding and productivity applications is quite appropriate and often essential at the 2nd through 5th or even 6th grade levels. By grade 7, though, if we're not moving students forward and addressing the actual standards for our grade level, rather than reiterating elementary school, we're doing our students a serious disservice. In that post, I promised a Part 2 that would share ways that you can "transform your computer classroom into a relevant, standards-compliant, juggernaut of 21st Century STE[A]M-tastic awesomeness." Talk about over-promising! Okay, I'll do my best. On to glory...


Beginning with the end in mind. If you don't know where you're going, you'll never get there. This is why we have objectives and sta…