- making new creations
- combining knowledge
- programming and coding
- digital creation
- solving puzzles
ProsA tremendous amount of well-documented game design and pedagogical resources come for free, with premium content available to teachers and kids at a deep discount.
ConsIt allows for a lot of complexity in games but doesn't go into programming or past a handful of game genres.
Bottom LineThis terrific and affordable toolset teaches kids how to design games and shows teachers how to use games to teach.
The teacher workshop enables teachers to manage class enrollment, track student progress through quests, assign classroom projects, showcase student games, and monitor student discussions.
Graphite Expert Review
Common Sense Graphite Reviewer
Kids learn about games by designing their own games. When going on missions, they unlock a steady stream of content that deepens their workshop experience.
The in-game and on-site documentation available to kids and teachers teaches lots about game design and invites classes to incorporate whatever content they can imagine.
Clear goals always draw kids’ attention to what they should learn from each mission, and the learning guide offers dozens of conversationally written lessons to support teachers using Gamestar Mechanic.
Gamestar Mechanic is an online toolset, game, and community that teaches kids how to build games. It focuses on the art of visual design rather than on programming, as other game-making platforms, such as Scratch, do.
A series of manga cut-scenes and "missions" ask kids to play, fix, and make different kinds of games built around specific mechanics, like collecting points or jumping. As kids learn design, they unlock "sprites," or pieces, of the games they've mastered to use in their own game design workshops. Kids can share the games they've made with teachers and classmates, as well as the Gamestar Mechanic community, by publishing them to Game Alley.Read More Read Less
Overall, Gamestar Mechanic is one of the best-documented and approachable game-design tools available to kids and their teachers. It partners with a number of major players in the emerging Connected Learning movement (such as the MacArthur Foundation and the Mozilla Open Badges Initiative), and its blog routinely shares useful game-based learning resources.
Kids learn in creative ways and are encouraged to be creative themselves. For example, they can customize games with their own artwork. Directions are clear and easy to follow; creations are real and playable. Kids have to think both mathematically and creatively to build games. It's a rare game that allows kids to feel true ownership over their work; Gamestar Mechanic fits the bill. Also, learning goes outside the classroom, as accounts are non-transferrable but kids can access them from home.Read More Read Less
Once they're registered, teachers and students can play missions, design games in the workshop, and share games. Teachers get management tools to see students' progress, track their work, assign projects, curate featured games, and manage class profiles from kids' workshops. During registration, you can decide whether or not to ask kids for real first and last names or to rely on usernames. You can also decide whether to unlock all available content at once or require students to play through missions and quests first, with the content as a reward.
Gamestar Mechanic Teachers is an online community that helps you learn to teach through games. It offers tutorials, materials, and lesson plans aligned to both game design and Common Core subjects. It features lessons from teacher-practitioners, which address both humanities and STEM content.Read More Read Less
See how teachers are using Gamestar Mechanic
Field Notes Field Notes are reviews by teachers for teachers. In Field Notes, teachers rate products as well as share their hands-on experience with using the products in the classroom.
Teacher ReviewsWrite Your Own Review
- Versatile gaming program that helps build design and writing skills.Dianna S.
Raleigh, NC5March 4, 2015
Lesson FlowsCreate Your Own Lesson Flow
Intro to Game Design (designing engaging end-user experience)English Language ArtsGrade 55 steps
March 12, 2015