Review by James Denby, Common Sense Education | Updated December 2019

Gamefroot

Fun and challenging platform for aspiring game designers

Subjects & skills
Subjects
N/A

Skills
  • Creativity
  • Critical Thinking
Grades This grade range is based on learning appropriateness and doesn't take into account privacy. It's determined by Common Sense Education, not the product's publisher.
4–12
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Pros: Great tools for game design; familiar interface, clear tutorials.

Cons: Not a lot of teacher-specific resources.

Bottom Line: A great launchpad for students who love games and code.

The best way to use Gamefroot is to introduce the platform using one of the site's very clear tutorials and then, for teachers who are comfortable with coding (and teaching coding), to give students game design challenges using specific parameters (types of character interactions, background design elements, scoring, etc.). For teachers without a lot of coding background, starting with the tutorials and then guiding students to try to remix what they or their peers have created with the tutorials will build skills and confidence.

Relying on the tutorials alone will definitely help students understand coding and game design, but it may not result in them applying those skills independently. Thinking ahead to how you will get students to transition to thinking computationally to tackle the complex challenge of game creation is key to taking full advantage of Gamefroot's potential. 

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Gamefroot is a website offering a block-based coding platform for game creation and design. Detailed tutorials guide kids through essential stages of game creation while supporting students' developing understanding of coding essentials (e.g., loops, events, variables). For anyone who has used Scratch, Gamefroot will be a familiar interface; in fact, Gamefroot incorporates many Scratch code blocks alongside its own game-specific blocks. 

Gamefroot is aligned to New Zealand's curricular standards, but these are an easy match to just about any country's standards around coding and computational thinking. In addition to the game design function of Gamefroot, there's an arcade in which students can share and test each other's creations.  

Gamefroot is a fantastic tool that students with an interest in coding and/or game design will find both entertaining and challenging. To help students really develop coding and computational thinking skills, teachers may have to push some students away from a reliance on the tutorials, but there's a lot to learn using Gamefroot. 

Gamefroot doesn't have the huge associated community of teachers and users that Scratch has, so you won't find the same breadth of resources for teaching. But, on the other hand, its focus on game design and the resources to go with it make it a great learning and teaching platform for students with an interest in creating games. 

Overall Rating

Engagement Would it motivate students and hold their interest? Is it visually appealing? Would it inspire teachers to try something new or change their instruction?

Any student interested in game design will love Gamefroot's familiar interface and clear tutorials. 

Pedagogy Does the tool help teachers promote a more student-centered experience? Will students gain conceptual understanding or think critically? Does it deepen teachers’ pedagogical thinking?

Incorporates a thoughtful design that increases student challenge incrementally to introduce essential elements of coding.

Support Can students and teachers get assistance when they need it? Is it created with people of different abilities and backgrounds in mind? Is learning reinforced and extended beyond the digital experience?

Provides excellent step-by-step tutorials for creating games of varying complexity. For unexpected problems, support is harder to find. 


Common Sense Reviewer
James Denby Educator/Curriculum Developer

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