Teacher Review for Portal 2 Puzzle Maker

Great Introduction to Game Modding and Iterative Design!

Steve I.
Classroom teacher
William Annin Middle School
Basking Ridge, NJ
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My Grades 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12
My Subjects Arts
EdTech Mentor
My Rating 5
Learning Scores
Engagement 5
Pedagogy 5
Support 4
My Students Liked It Yes
My Students Learned Yes
I Would Recommend It Yes
Setup Time 5-15 minutes
Great for Creation
Further application
Individual
Small group
Great with Advanced learners
ELL
General
Low literacy
How I Use It
I teach a game design and development course and one of the options for students is to create their own levels in Portal 2. For this game, I have them play the game a bit to gain an understanding of how the portal 2 puzzle levels are set up. Then they are introduced to the built in puzzle maker. Prior to building their level, they come up with a storyline as well as description of the level(s) they will be creating. Then they build their level, have peers test it, iterate based on feedback, and continue to develop their levels. Ideally, students publish their levels to the Steam Workshop to contribute to the greater community.
My Take
I love the portal 2 puzzle maker. It's so easy to use, but the challenge comes in building challenging levels that will be fun for the player. This is where much of the iteration comes in. I am disappointed that Valve stopped supporting the education version of the game and the Steam for Schools program. When that was in place, the software was free and there were supports and a community of educators. The game is still a great choice for the classroom, but I wish that the structure of supporting school use was still in place and further developed.