Probably the best way to utilize Stencyl is in a semester-long after-school program or elective class, giving students the freedom to simply act as game developers. An ideal classroom setup would be a 1:1 (or a slightly less ideal 2:1) computer lab with desktop or laptop computers. Within two to three weeks (4-6 hours of seat time a week), students should be developing games on their own -- although this time frame may vary depending on the students.
In a core content class, students can turn their subject-based learning into the theme or mechanics of a game. For example, students studying the solar system in science class can build a game inspired by the Milky Way. This motivates students to both learn and apply core content in ways that are equally novel and fun.Continue reading Show less
Stencyl is a game creation program that’s focused on codeless, cross-platform game making. By snapping blocks of code together, students and teachers can create games (and curricula) that can be published on a variety of platforms. Building blocks of code makes the game very similar to MIT’s Scratch, but with much more functionality. Tech-savvy users will find the interface intuitive and will dive right in, but the less experienced may initially be daunted. To overcome any early frustration, students and teachers should dedicate a few hours to the helpful online tutorials.
Finished games can be exported as stand-alone Flash files or can be uploaded to Stencyl itself. With annual paid versions of Stencyl, games can be played (and optionally sold) on many additional platforms, including iOS and Android. In addition to the support website and core program itself, Stencyl comes with an image editor, a database of free user-created resources, and an online reference encyclopedia. The Stencyl website is very comprehensive and full of tutorials, game ideas, help forums, and a live chat area.
Stencyl provides infinite sandbox-style learning opportunities ranging from game design theory and basic programming to graphic design and student collaboration. It also facilitates digital project-based learning that helps students build career and life skills. Working on game projects allows for powerful differentiation, as students work at their own pace and complexity level. And as they get further along with their games, students develop feelings of pride and ownership, creating tangible demonstrations of learning that they can share and even publish.
While it works well in a classroom, Stencyl would be even better with a simple learning management system that could track student progress, store assignments and completed work, and issue and display assessment like recognition badges.
Key Standards Supported
- HSN.Q .1
Use units as a way to understand problems and to guide the solution of multi-step problems; choose and interpret units consistently in formulas; choose and interpret the scale and the origin in graphs and data displays.
Key Standards Supported
Reading Informational Text
Interpret information presented visually, orally, or quantitatively (e.g., in charts, graphs, diagrams, time lines, animations, or interactive elements on Web pages) and explain how the information contributes to an understanding of the text in which it appears.
Evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of using different mediums (e.g., print or digital text, video, multimedia) to present a particular topic or idea.
Follow precisely a multistep procedure when carrying out experiments, taking measurements, or performing technical tasks.
Determine the meaning of symbols, key terms, and other domain-specific words and phrases as they are used in a specific scientific or technical context relevant to grades 11–12 texts and topics.
Key Standards Supported
Define a simple design problem reflecting a need or a want that includes specified criteria for success and constraints on materials, time, or cost.
Generate and compare multiple possible solutions to a problem based on how well each is likely to meet the criteria and constraints of the problem.
Plan and carry out fair tests in which variables are controlled and failure points are considered to identify aspects of a model or prototype that can be improved.
Analyze a major global challenge to specify qualitative and quantitative criteria and constraints for solutions that account for societal needs and wants.
Design a solution to a complex real-world problem by breaking it down into smaller, more manageable problems that can be solved through engineering.
Evaluate a solution to a complex real-world problem based on prioritized criteria and trade-offs that account for a range of constraints, including cost, safety, reliability, and aesthetics, as well as possible social, cultural, and environmental impacts.
Use a computer simulation to model the impact of proposed solutions to a complex real-world problem with numerous criteria and constraints on interactions within and between systems relevant to the problem.
Define the criteria and constraints of a design problem with sufficient precision to ensure a successful solution, taking into account relevant scientific principles and potential impacts on people and the natural environment that may limit possible solutions.
Evaluate competing design solutions using a systematic process to determine how well they meet the criteria and constraints of the problem.
Analyze data from tests to determine similarities and differences among several design solutions to identify the best characteristics of each that can be combined into a new solution to better meet the criteria for success.
Develop a model to generate data for iterative testing and modification of a proposed object, tool, or process such that an optimal design can be achieved.