Professional Development For Teachers: Learning Games Design
The Learning Games Network and FableVision have released a Game Design Tool Kit (GDTK) & a series of free online resources to help teachers integrate game design across the curriculum. The Learning Games Network has also expanded its professional development for teachers program to include Inservice Training Sessions and Game Jams for middle and high school teachers beginning with the current 2012-2013 school year.
Local and on-site professional development for teachers workshops, such as four-hour Inservice Training Sessions and two- to three-day Game Jams, help school districts and administrators promote successful integration of the GDTK into core curricula and existing teaching methods through new project-based strategies that engage, inspire, and challenge students’ thinking and drive a deeper understanding of new ideas and information.
Available to teachers as a free download, the Game Design Tool Kit consists of a comprehensive handbook, which includes a lesson plan guide, research and design prompts, and step-by-step instructions and discussion guides that enable educators to coach students through four phases of game design: Explore, Discover, Create, and Share. Teachers lead students through game concept and topical research strategies and activities (Explore), creative strategy and brainstorming discussions and documentation (Discover), paper-prototype production (Create), and lastly playtesting, documentation, and concept presentations (Share). Students learn to think critically, creatively, strategically and conceptually through a fun, structured method with deliverables teachers can evaluate at key milestones during the development process. Additional resources will be added over the coming weeks and months, including video clips, photos, lesson plans, templates, and a detailed game design glossary.
Jennifer Groff, LGN’s Vice President of Learning and Program Development, said, “The GDTK immerses teachers and students in collaborative, challenge-based learning projects throughout the school year, encouraging both to explore new ‘roles’ that facilitate student-driven enquiry and design as teachers facilitate new concept development.” Groff added, “Teachers’ growth in this new pedagogy is supported through a robust syllabus of learning experiences and associated professional development activities that emerge from LGN’s work with teachers, designers, and producers in our growing network of game-based learning professionals.”
The GDTK, implemented over variable periods of time (days, weeks, a quarter or a semester) and across all disciplines, helps teachers make connections between “pre-production” design work and technical implementation with tools and applications such as Kodu, Gamestar Mechanic, Scratch, GameSalad, among others. LGN, with initial funding through the HP Catalyst Program, has worked closely with its partners at the MIT Education Arcade, FableVision, and the State of Kentucky’s Department of Education-Student Technology Leadership Program to refine the GDTK and its associated professional development programs.