Game Design and Development: Pedagogically Speaking

Teaching students to create video games provides an engaging opportunity to introduce computer programming concepts and computational thinking in a constructionist learning environment. In addition, video game design and development in the classroom teaches valuable skills including design thinking, problem solving, iterative design, and storytelling. Video games embody a type of cultural capital that makes content more accessible and interesting to many children. Currently, there are limited options for students at the middle school level to partake in courses in video game design and development, though research suggests there are benefits to engaging students in this type of design work and participatory culture. We explore the research findings and provide an overview of a public middle school program that has developed a curriculum in game design and development for seventh and eighth grade students, and look at implementation strategies for schools.