On this episode of Teachers Teaching Teachers, we learned more about playing, modifying, and designing games.
One of our guests was Scott Price, a game developer or producer at Gamestar Mechanic. A few of us in the New York City Writing Project, especially Susan Ettenheim and Shantanu Saha — both of whom are on this podcast — have been using a beta version of Gamestar Mechanic this spring with their students.
Students or as they are know inside of this game, “Mechanics" can do a bunch of fun and interesting things with Gamestar Mechanic, and most of them fall into three categories:
You’ll start the game playing the Gamestar Mechanic Quest. You’ll start out as a new arrival in Factory 7. Along the way, you will play games, fix broken games and even design games of your own. As you complete challenges, you’ll collect “sprites”: avatars, enemies, blocks and other tools that serve as the building blocks for making games.
In the workshop, you can use the sprites you’ve earned to build your own games. You can edit and change games you have created, add content that tells the “story” behind your game and, of course, play the games you’ve made.
If you’ve created an awesome game, you can publish it to Game Alley. In Game Alley, mechanics can play games created by other users and share the games they have created. You can review and comment on other mechanics’ games to let them know how much their games rock or what they can do to make them better.
On this episode of TTT, we were also priviledged to have a 6 grade teacher who has been using Gamestar Mechanic as well as other gaming platforms extensively with his students, Al Doyle.
Al is the “Sports for the Mind” domain teacher at Quest 2 Learn, a new public school in New York City “where students learn to see the world as composed of many different kinds of systems. It is a place to play, invent, grow, and explore.”
Al Doyle, a native of Brooklyn, has interests ranging from art and animation to set design, digital imaging and most recently, game design. He was the producer and lead animator for the Salvadori Foundation’s Art of Construction, a web site designed to teach basic architecture and engineering to middle school students. For more than twenty years, he has taught computer graphics and multimedia at leading independent New York City K-12 schools. Al developed a popular course for adults, Learning Photoshop Through Art, at the Guggenheim Museum. Al received a Jerome Foundation Fellowship to create a portfolio of prints at Bob Blackburn’s Printmaking Workshop which is now in the Library of Congress collection. Al studied stage design at the Polakov Studio in the West Village and was resident designer at HB Studio for several years. In addition, he designed over 100 educational theater productions and over 25 professional designs for ballet, dance, drama, musical theater and opera in off-Broadway and regional theater. As Director of Internet Training at the National Teacher Training Institute for New York’s Channel Thirteen / WNET, Al traveled extensively in a “train-the-trainers” model of technology integration for K-12 teachers. Currently, in addition to his role at Quest, Al teaches for the graduate division of Touro College’s Masters Degree Program in Instructional Technology.
We hope you enjoy this episode, and we invite you to join us in our quest learn more about how to understand “game mechanics.” We want to imagine the different possibilities that Gamestar Mechanic and other sites like this provide to our students as we make room for these new literacies of game play, game modding, and game design!
Click Read more to see a copy of the chat that was happening during the webcast.