Digital Gaming in the Classroom

By Guest Blogger Frank Paden

At Young Audiences Summer Institute, I enrolled in The Digital Media Integration sessions. The wonderful presenters wrote a grant to go to Laguna College of Art and Design (LCAD) and learned how to design games for the classroom. There were four presenters: Joe Ionna of Young Audiences’ education staff, Claudine McCoy is currently a Technology teacher, Carol Lynn Mitchell is a Teaching Artist, and Curtis Walton is a CMSD Graphic Arts teacher.
First, Joe Ionna presented gaming technology. Games need three components: a plot (action), rewards (money or points), and mayhem (something causes disruption in the game). We learned how a teacher can integrate game design into his/her classroom and how to use games as motivators for our students.

Curtis Walton showed us the nuts and bolts of the way games are designed and the program they used to make their game, mainly Game Maker 8.1 lite which can be downloaded free and used immediately. Gaming is appropriate for grades 7 and up. YANEO roster artist Carol Lynn Mitchell was interested in how classroom teachers can integrate game design into their classrooms.
I began wondering how can I integrate this into my curriculum and have students create digital games in the art room? I liked the idea that the students would be able to use their art skills and knowledge to create sprites through drawing and or manipulation of pre-programmed sprites. Right now most of the technology used by our district in grades K-8 is solely for data collection and students are not getting enough of critical thinking.
This session showed me how I can easily incorporate technology into the arts. I have been stymied as to how I could interject technology to increase my students (HOTS) higher order thinking skills without it seeming like it was just wedged in with no rhyme or reason. My building has travelling laptops and as long as I can download the programs the students can easily start creating games.

With an endeavor this big I will have to include our school partners and write grants to make it a success.

Students will be able to share and self reflect how they progressed through the creation of their game. A rubric would be designed to not only evaluate the games, but be used as a self awareness guide. We will hold classroom discussions to help determine what the difficulties are and how to progress through the first year of inception. The game will become a tangible product for a grade using a rubric given at the beginning of the assignment. Students would be journaling about their progress. Demonstrations would be given by students highlighting their creations and the reason behind their decisions.


As my knowledge and experience grows with the implementation of these programs that I intend

to use: Game Maker 8.1, Flip Notes Studio, and Movie Maker I will begin to share my ideas during our professional development to all teachers on how to integrate these programs into their classrooms. After sharing the information to the school s staff I would post videos to teachetube.com that show students working on the gaming project. The use of teachtube.com to upload videos of how to use Game Maker 8.1 lite will also help many teacher s who wish to integrate technology, but as of now have been unable too. Hopefully the videos will provide enough information to get them started on game making in their classrooms. I will also re-evaluate the way I teach and set up technology lessons to see if changing parts of my lessons will help students grasp the sequences of game making better which means they are applying higher order thinking skills.

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