Blog Archives

Learning STEM Skills by Designing Video Games

Here is a great video from Edutopia about Rhys, a 10 year old boy from Texas, who likes to;

“play baseball and play Gamestar Mechanic.  I really like making games because you get to be really creative with it.  Okay. So right now I’m logging into Gamestar Mechanic. It’s pretty much the only platform I make games on. You can have it be a story game. You can have it be a blasting game. You can have it be an easy game, a hard game. I mean, really, you can do almost anything.”  In this video, Rhys shows some of the games that he has made and what he has learned.

Kurt Squire says that;

“One real key attribute of Gamestar Mechanic is that you have an authentic audience, right? So in most classrooms you’re building stuff for your teacher who may or may not have time to read your essay that you wrote just because it’s an essay. But Gamestar Mechanic has a vibrant community where people are making games for real people, real audiences that have real demands and expectations. So you have to think about “How is my audience gonna perceive this? How are they gonna perceive my message? What are they gonna take away from it?” And Gamestar Mechanic has that really built in and so that’s really key for learning. It’s something we’re not doing in our schools.”

To learn more follow this link to Edutopia;


Games promote higher order thinking skills (Don’t tell the Texas GOP)

Konstantin Mitgutsch, MIT, co-editor and co-author of  Exploring the Edges of Gaming (2010), defends the idea that games promote higher order thinking.  His presentation was recorded at the JogNog Games for Learning Conference on June 28, 2011.  This is a clear, insightful, and research based presentation with several good examples of students learning higher order thinking skills while playing digital games. Enjoy!

In other news, The Republican Party in the state of Texas declared their opposition to teaching Higher order thinking skills in public schools.  Here is what they had to say in their 2012 platform:

“Knowledge-Based Education – We oppose the teaching of Higher Order Thinking Skills (HOTS) (values clarification), critical thinking skills and similar programs that are simply a relabeling of Outcome-Based Education (OBE) (mastery learning) which focus on behavior modification and have the purpose of challenging the student’s fixed beliefs and undermining parental authority.” (page 12 of The 2012 Republican party platform for the State of Texas).

Let’s hope that the Republicans of Texas do not discover the link between higher order thinking skills and digital games – least they attempt to banish games as well.