How I Use It
A language arts teacher inquired about Gamestar Mechanic one day in a discussion on integrating technology at school. I implemented the tool in my 7th grade classes to test it for the educator. The students were immediately engaged in the web application and continued to hone their games during the lesson that I capped at three days. They had to create a story to match what the character would experience in the game, add components to challenge other gamers, and then provide peer review for each others game.
I used a rubric for the story and components included in the game. The students then provided feedback on how the game played and if it challenged their game playing skills.
While the graphics in the game engine are not state of the art, the students were highly engaged during the process for story writing, game development, and review. The lessons I presented for Gamestar Mechanic effectively taught writing for ELA standards and met standards for technology tool usage for West Virginia. The students collaborative interactions building levels accompanied by ongoing (after the unit was complete) improvement of their games is what impressed me the most. Many returned after my six-week rotation to discuss where the game headed.