So You Wanna Be A Gamer?

Switching back to teacher mode today and while I have a few rants I could certainly share from today, seriously sometimes it's the adults in the school who annoy me more than the teenagers, I am focusing on the positive. 

In my Web Design class we have been flying through our projects at a rapid speed so I needed a mini project before we started our final project in May and I have been itching to do a unit on Video Game Design. 

I spent way too many planning periods downloading different game design software, frankly I am surprised that the district big brother didn't call me up and ask what I was doing exactly.

And I learned one important lesson. 

Video Game Design ain't easy, so I would need a HUGE crash course before I dropped my students into the middle of it, ain't nobody got time for that.

Just when I thought all hope was lost I stumbled across GameStar Mechanic and I swooned, set up an account immediately and stopped to tell Mr. B all about it, cause he LOVES to hear about my classroom lessons

Then I second guessed myself and downloaded a few more software programs. But really I need to start trusting my first instinct so it was back to GameStar Mechanic. Really you didn't need to know all that, get to the point Box!

This semester I am doing a free version of the software and I figured if it was a hit I would look at setting aside some of my funds next year for the full teacher version.

Summary:  " Gamestar Mechanic is a game and community designed to teach kids the principles of game design and systems thinking in a highly engaging environment. It is designed for 7- to 14-year-olds but is open to everyone. We've included features in Gamestar that make it useful for kids playing the game on their own or with family members at home, as well as in moderated and educational settings."

Top 6 Reasons Why I HEART GameStar Mechanic:

1. It is SUPER easy to use. Set up your class, provide the link to students then they set up their own accounts and they are in. No enrollment on your end at all! And once the students are in they haven't needed a bit of assistance from me navigating the system.

2.  The comic book style instructions + quests allow students to learn the steps of game design and they don't even realize they are learning anything as they try and beat the different levels.

3.  My kids pretty much think I am AMAZBALLS for letting them play video games all period. 

4.  There are lessons already written that walk the students/teachers through all five episodes with warm up question, wrap up questions, vocabulary and any documents needed. All can be found here.

5. Oh and Scholastic has a whole article explaining the research behind using this in the classroom with additional lesson ideas for core subjects. Found here!

6.  This is a selfish reason, but the music for the video games are very Mario esq (back when we played it on Nintendo) and it really makes everyone happy to listen to the games being played. Especially me, this really is the most important reason!

While I am tying this whole unit together with the career side of Video Game Design to stick with my TEKS I feel that this could be a resource that any teacher could use in any classroom. With most State Testing quickly approaching, I know there are more opportunities to add fun little units in at the end of year so hopefully a teacher or two finds my silly review inspirational or helpful, or mildly entertaining

And this has been a HOME RUN with my students, I haven't had a single student cause a disruption or want to sit out the past two classes. Just in case I hadn't sold you on the program yet!

Happy Gaming!

- The Babbling Box!

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