Where do we start? – 1/2/14

Published on Sunday, January 5th, 2014

Where do we start?

By Tim Loew, executive director, MassDiGI

Video games have never been more popular than they are today. More people are playing more games than ever before. As as result, it’s no surprise that making games is also more popular than ever particularly with young people.

To that extent, although our expertise is focused at the university-level, we often receive requests from parents and teachers asking “Where do we start?”  –  how to best direct their interested elementary, middle and high school students to a starting place.

In general, we try and point them to peers or at the myriad of existing resources on the Web. There are great options for beginner’s of all ages – from Scratch and Gamestar Mechanic to Game Salad and Game Maker to more advanced programs such as Code Academy. Sites of all sorts (like Reddit) offer informative tutorials and videos that provide valuable insight. There are even summer camps. In addition, organizations such as MIT’s Education Arcade, LGN, Joan Ganz Cooney Center, STEM Challenge, MinecraftEDU, AMD, IGDA and many others provide helpful information about games and K-12 education.

Of course, making games is tons of fun and can really help encourage and engage student interest in subject areas like algebra, calculus, physics, computer science, programming, art, music, design, writing, psychology, business and so much more.

Over the course of 2014, thanks to the ESA Foundation, we plan to take MassDiGI 101, a new program we are designing to help parents, teachers and high school students learn more about game making, on the road and visit communities across all the New England states. Keep an eye on this site or on our Twitter or Facebook feeds for information on when we’ll be in your neighborhood!

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