Excellent Introduction to Game Design
How I Use It
Gamestar Mechanic may be successfully used in a wide variety of teaching situations and grade levels, including a multi-age class. Students work at their own pace and their progress is recorded. Work can be completed periodically or every day, as time and schedules allow.
In my K-5 elementary school, time for dedicated study outside the current curriculum is rather limited. So, I will be to offering it as an after-school class where interested students pay a small fee to experience a topic not offered during the school day. Organized by the Parent Faculty Association these classes will meet once/week for 6 weeks.
Other ideas for using Gamestar Mechanic are as follows:
- class or individual reward offering, after achievement in other classes
- enrichment study, as part of Gifted Education
- gamers can login for homework or for self-directed study, when not in school
- high school elective class
- indoor-recess choice, to offer a stimulating educational option on a bitter cold day
- middle school activity period offering
- summer camp for extended learning
Gamestar Mechanic’s potential as a teaching tool is impressive. Geared toward students in grades 4-9, it is engaging, challenging and easy to get started. Much of the experience is available for free with a computer, internet access and Adobe Flash (free download). Registering for more services is fairly economical: professional educators can register for a 30-day free trial (no credit card needed) and may register 3 students. Students are $2 each after 30 days.
By eliminating the need to use programming language, teachers and students free to focus on 21st Century Learning Skills in a user-friendly format. Throughout the three components of Play, Design and Share, students develop valuable and deep interests in Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math (STEAM). One of its greatest strengths is in the third component, where students are encouraged to share their creations in the Gamestar Mechanic community, and to learn from the review and criticism of their work.
Teachers can begin their exploration by clicking the “For Teachers” button and view the 2-minute video, which does a great job of summarizing what Gamestar Mechanic offers. From there, finding more information about lesson plans and accounts are only a click or two away.
The supports offered are exceptional. There is an active blog, social media connections and comprehensive lesson-planning information. These fantastic supports will help teachers to effectively organize and deliver curriculum, while providing tools necessary to obtain any necessary funding, administrative or parental approval.