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Flash Games in the Classroom

24 Mar

I’ve been teaching students to create Flash animations for a few years now, and this year I decided to take the plunge and get them to design their own Flash games. I started out by walking the students through two tutorials I got from http://www.flashclassroom.com which taught the students how to use button behaviours, and drag and drop functionality using basic actionscript. We managed to complete these tutorials within two successive weeks. The students were then divided into groups to do market research on ideas for games, to design the games and advertise them for Games Day which is coming up shortly. They had to make a short games trailer and a poster advert. They also had to market their game via twitter and use twitter for games design research.

Games Day itself is on 2 April, so I will tweet about that when it has happened, but I am very encouraged by what I have learned from this project already. Firstly, I am very impressed by the quality of games which I have seen to date – about half of them have been completed. Most groups kept the games simple and do-able. I was infusing the Habit of Mind of Taking Responsible Risks into this lesson unit, and very few groups have based their games on skill-sets they had not already acquired, or could easily acquire through guided tutorials. This was vital for students who had never programmed before, apart from some simple JavaScript, and who had never used actionscript. Most took the tutorials I walked through with them and extended those principles into bigger projects. Some used other available tutorials to base a game on, and did so well.

I was also encouraged by the fact that the project did not preclude getting students to use the traditional Office applications in the support documentation each group had to submit. This is very important in terms of demonstrating to parents, and school administrators that the course has validity. I was able to teach and assess various aspects of word-processors quite effectively.

Another pleasing aspect of the experience has been the way in which I was able to integrate twitter into the project. I wanted to use this as an opportunity to teach students how to use twitter for research and for marketing, and to establish it as an essential classroom tool in the minds of students. I had expected some resistance, but students appeared to see the advantages of using hashtags, for example quite quickly, and the twitter feed on the class Moodle quickly filled with groups claiming that they wold “dominate” Games Day. More importantly, some groups used it to follow flash games design gurus and to ask for assistance. I wasn’t really expecting this, and it was most gratifying.

Some of the games are edutainment, for example teaching French or Afrikaans vocabulary, and I had planned that where this was appropriate the girls who had designed the game could take some time to show the game to younger girls in the junior school, for use in lessons. I see this as a very important aspect in the validation of the work that the girls have put into their projects and an important way of integrating ICTs across the curriculum. Next year I would like to see the girls being commissioned to produce the games.

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3 Comments

Posted by on March 24, 2012 in Gaming in Education, Moodle, Twitter

 

3 responses to “Flash Games in the Classroom

  1. Flash Games

    October 28, 2012 at 8:13 am

    does it cost money because i want to build a flash game.

    Like

     

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