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Pros: Easy to use but difficult to master, will engage kids and keep them solving problems.
Cons: The app can be confusing to use at first, and students will need scaffolding to link creations to class content.
Bottom Line: With teacher support, a creative introduction to coding and game design.
Teachers can use Ready Maker in small groups, with partners, or with individual students to provide an introduction to computer coding through something sure to catch the kids' attention: game design. There are lots of tutorials built right into the app that will allow students to work at their own pace. Because most of the tutorials refer to the PC version of the app, students will probably benefit from some whole-group instruction on how the app works. At that point, this app is best used by small groups or individuals who can work through the tutorials or experiment at their own pace.
It would make an excellent addition to an after-school club or coding class but also has lots of elements related to curricular content such as critical thinking, problem-solving, and communication. Students could easily use Ready Maker to design animations or games related to science, math, history, and more.
In Ready Maker, you add backgrounds, icons, and behaviors to make your own digital creations through an app (or downloaded on a PC or Mac). The coding is extremely simple, relying on visual drag-and-drop blocks and clear, concise directions rather than any actual coding language. The core concepts are there, however, and students exposed to Ready Maker likely will find actual coding familiar in the future. Students can make mazes, video games, animations, or just about anything else they can imagine.
Various activities and tutorials are found on the site, and final creations can be played on iOS, Mac, or PC. A paid educator account includes group administration features, asset uploading, and unlimited sharing.
Ready Maker is a fun, simple vehicle for game design. It builds slowly; you can start by simply adding a character and enabling it to zoom around. But with more work you can build surprisingly complex games, designs, and creations. It's ideal for self-guided learning, provides ample opportunities for creative thinking and problem-solving, and offers teachers a fantastic opportunity to link curricular content to something that will really captivate students' interest. Getting used to the controls can be tricky at first, but once they're mastered, students will have a lot of freedom to engage in the design process.