Review by Melissa Powers, Common Sense Education | Updated February 2019

Roblox

Popular game development platform has classroom potential

Subjects & skills
Subjects
N/A

Skills
  • Communication & Collaboration
  • Creativity
  • Character & SEL
  • 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.
8–12
Common Sense says (See details)
Teachers say (2 Reviews)

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Pros: Roblox gives students a platform to share their games with a real audience.

Cons: With millions of users worldwide, it’s impossible to control the people and content students will encounter on Roblox.

Bottom Line: Teens who love gaming can learn to be developers, too, with Roblox's tools and hosting service.

Teachers can take advantage of Roblox's versatility to use it in a variety of ways. In a computer science classroom or after-school program, Roblox offers a real-world experience as students use code to develop games that can be quickly published and shared with an audience of millions. In learning about game design, students practice storytelling, sequencing, graphic design, 3D modeling, and a variety of skills that translate across disciplines. For older students, teachers could even use Roblox's monetization feature to teach business and entrepreneurial skills.

Subject area teachers can use Roblox as a digital platform for demonstrating content knowledge. Students could make a simulation for a historical event or experience (think Oregon Trail) or create a choose-your-own-path adventure. If you don't have time to teach your whole class how to use Roblox, you could suggest the platform as a project option in lieu of a video, slide presentation, etc. Many of your students may already have experience with Roblox and may jump at the opportunity to demonstrate their skills. Do seek parental involvement when using Roblox, especially with children under 13, because parents can moderate safety features with a PIN code.

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Roblox is a game creation platform for creating 3D online multiplayer games. It also functions as a social network; students can have friends and followers, chat, and send private messages. To create a game, teachers or students must download Roblox Studio onto a Windows or Mac computer. Students create games from simple templates using object-oriented programming and a language called Lua. Once posted online, games can be played in a browser or on a mobile device or Xbox. The creator can choose to allow other users to play the game for free or charge "Robux," the currency of Roblox. Roblox is a "freemium" product; kids can build and play for free, but many upgrades require spending real money, which is converted to Robux. To support classroom use, Roblox has published free lessons and detailed tutorials to help teachers guide students through learning the platform and creating projects.

Roblox is a commercial product that inherently has a lot of learning opportunities. Like Minecraft, this popular gaming platform can be used to teach and demonstrate specific skills, with careful planning and structured implementation. There aren't any special classroom accounts or private servers: All teachers and students create regular accounts and have access to the entire Roblox library. Because anyone in the world can share and play on Roblox, there's a chance students will encounter inappropriate content. Ads on the website, plus the emphasis on monetization (earning and spending Robux) can be a distraction. Some features, like the ability to chat with strangers, may even violate your school's policy, so be sure to check with your tech staff and administration before making plans to use Roblox with students.

Overall Rating

Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return?

Students will enjoy publishing and playing games, but the platform learning curve may be frustratingly steep for those with little coding and game design experience.

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer?

ISTE Standards-aligned lesson plans help teachers focus on storytelling and design elements as everyone becomes familiar with Roblox Studio.

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students?

Students and teachers can access detailed tutorials, lesson resources, and an incredibly active worldwide community.