Monthly Archives: June 2011

GBL for STEM Summer Camp in WIT (results)

Following the workshop on Video Games, students were asked to fill-out a feedback form to indicate whether they enjoyed the workshop, identify how it motivated them to embrace a scientific career (e.g., IT), and evaluate how it could be improved.
The respondents consisted of 8 boys and 6 girls. Most respondents were aged between 13. and 14.
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Most of the attendees found the workshop was fun (93%), and would like to carry-on creating games in the future (57%).
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After this workshop, most attendees felt more confident about programing (65%) and using computers (71%); 35% found that the workshop had motivated them to create video games, 21% did not share this opinion, and 42% neither agreed or disagreed.
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When asked about the aspect of the workshop that they preferred, attendees essentially found creating a game (29%), learning something new(21%) and playing the game they have created (21%) the most enjoyable parts of the workshop.
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The majority of the students felt that they would like to know more about computing or programing after this workshop (78%).
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Some comments about the workshop include:
It was the best workshop we did all week
it was great fun and i cant wait to brag to my friends how i made my own computer game. I was really great fun and i would love to do it again!!
I really enjoyed the workshop and it was great fun making and playing your own game I would have liked it to be longer so we could have done more. And learned about how to do other types of games.

GBL for STEM Summer Camp in WIT

On Thursday 16th June 2011, I ran a workshop on creating video games as part of a STEM summer camp organized in Waterford Institute of Technology by CALMAST (Centre for the Advancement of Learning of Maths, Science and Technology). The group included 14 secondary schools students with no or little background in Computer Science. The workshop consisted of an introduction to GameMaker, a free 2D game engine, followed by a project whereby they had to construct their own game. The workshop lasted for 8 hours, with breaks in the morning, afternoon and for lunch. The workshop was organized around the them of pac-man. Students were introduced to GameMaker, including: graphical interface, designing a level, creating sprites, objects and rooms, moving objects, collecting objects, displaying score and lives, creating variables, modifying variables, conditional statements, etc. This experience was extremely inspiring:

  1. Students were extremely engaged in the creation process. They were willing to learn new concepts in order to improve their game. During the breaks, the majority of students insisted on staying in the classroom in order to work on their project.
  2. The majority of them had little or no computing background, but concretely applied some simple programing concepts without realizing it.
  3. Most students took their project at home in the view to improve it and possibly publish it on the yoyogames website.
  4. Collaborative patterns appeared after few hours. Some students had become “experts” and where helping their peers. Students were also evaluating each-others’ project, providing feedback.
  5. Many students developed their ICT skills by creating/editing sprites for their games using GameMaker build in editor.
Next events may include a second day where students can create a game that teaches/illustrates a specific science topic (e.g., chemistry or physics). My congratulations to the CALMAST team for organizing such a relevant and useful event.
A survey was conducted to evaluate the workshop and the results are now available.
If you are interested in using Game-Maker, the following resources may be interesting:
– Resources to create games with GameMaker
– Resources for teachers

METS11: Video on GBL

A new video was posted on the mets11 website. METS (Maynooth Educational Technology Showcase 2011) is a technology showcase developed for student teachers and their lecturer. The first video from METS11 is now available, and includes interviews of teachers on the topic of Game-Based Learning. It particularly relates to the use of Scratch a powerful, yet simple tool to introduce programing concepts, mathematical and computational ideas, in a fun and enjoyable way, notably through stories, animations, games, music, and art . For more information on Scratch in Ireland, see