Scaffolding for Gamestar

column |

Scaffolding for Gamestar

Jun 5, 2012

SCAFFOLDING TO THE (GAME)STAR: As EdSurge contributor, Ben Stern, worked on his review of Gamestar Mechanic, he had an interesting email exchange with E-Line Media executive vice president, Brian Alspach.

Alspach reports that more than 150,000 kids have used Gamestar in 3,000 classrooms, community organizations, afterschool programs, camps and so on since its launch in fall 2010, he reports. (Together, they've made more than 200,000 games, which have been played almost 5 million times.)

Teacher feedback, he says, has been "very enthusiastic," and most new users have tried Gamestar because they heard about it from another teacher. What many users want, however, is a path to follow once the students have mastered Gamestar. "Unlike, say, music or sports, there really isn't a learning pathway for game making with the kind of scaffolding and supports you'd find around those other areas of interest, and so a lot of our efforts now are focused on building that pathway," Alspach says.

E-Line aims to build those paths in several ways:

* By working on a version of Gamestar for high school and young adult users that will offer more unconstrained game making with deeper exposure to programming, art creation, and so on, in more game genres;

* By beginning to offer "Online Learning" courses in game design where kids can have a virtual instructor and get feedback on their work from game industry professionals;

* By developing a club-based hands-on program in game design where kids can make games together by operating their own mini game development studio.

E-Line Media has other titles in the works, too, including one on entrepreneurship and another on digital design, which could lead to making things in the real world (as in the Fab lab and Maker movement).

Learn more about EdSurge operations, ethics and policies here. Learn more about EdSurge supporters here.

More from EdSurge

Get our email newsletterSign me up
Keep up to date with our email newsletterSign me up