Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Building Online Games as an Educational Tool

More and more people are exploring the idea of making games within an educational setting. The design, construction and planning of the outcomes is an excellent problem solving exercise. It makes for a fantastic collaborative project as well.

I had a student approach me today with a game that he has based around the unit of work that we are studying. Each of the students negotiate their own research based on their understanding of the concepts covered by the unit.

He has used Game Salad as a way of building a game where the player must safely transport a 19th poster to the print factory. The concept of the game is that the player must learn about the effect of technology on late 19th century art movements and how it changed artistic practice.

When I mentioned this to a couple of teachers over lunch they related that a couple of kids from the same cohort had created a synopsis of scenes from Othello using different gaming platforms for each new scene. Apparently it went down very well with their peers in the English class.

So what are some of the Web Tools your students could use to construct their own online games:


Stencyl.com:


StencylWorks isn't your average game creation software; it's a gorgeous, intuitive toolset that integrates seamlessly with the Stencyl ecosystem. Exclusive collaboration and sharing features will have you making Flash games in a flash. For free. iOS support is on its way, too.


Game Salad.com:


GameSalad aims to open the doors of game design to anyone who wants to create. With GameSalad's complete set of tools and editors, bring your game to market faster and easier than with any other development platform; and without coding a single line. That's development in days and weeks - not months. That's the democratization of game creation.

http://gamesalad.com/

Thinking Worlds:


Thinking Worlds is a 3D sims & games engine and authoring tool. It enables novice and advanced developers alike to create and publish highly immersive simulations – rapidly. It has been designed from the start around the needs of designers and enables quick development of 3D sims & games. When you’re finished creating and building your sims, Thinking Worlds enables you to publish your project as either a standalone sim. Web-delivered sim or a mobile sim for iPad and iPhone requires a product purchase.



Scratch:


Scratch is a programming language that makes it easy to create your own interactive stories, animations, games, music, and art -- and share your creations on the web. As young people create and share Scratch projects, they learn important mathematical and computational ideas, while also learning to think creatively, reason systematically, and work collaboratively.



Want to make your own online games for free? Sploder makes it super easy for you to make your own free games online and share them with your friends. Make your own platformer games, spaceship shooters, space adventure games, and now, our fantastic new physics game maker has been launched for creating original minigames!


ChallengeYou.com:




ChallengeYou.com is a fun and safe online community of really creative kids. We give you the tools you need to quickly create fun, online, multiplayer games that you can play with your friends, family, and other ChallengeYou members.



There are many many websites, blogs and wikis that explore this educational concept. I was lucky enough to participate in a workshop last year at Ulearn 2010 where Adrian Camm had put together a fantastic resource.

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  1. Hi Greg,

    you can see some of the results of the Universe Quest project run by the National Science Foundation - girls making games to learn about science http://bit.ly/kV4QaC & http://bit.ly/kKX0Ik

    The students used the Thinking Worlds authoring tool to create their learning games. Great news. The Thinking Worlds authoring tool is now free for educators and students.

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