The Grade 8 students in the Information Technology class at St. John Brebeuf secondary are creating their own computer games this semester.
The students apply the GameMaker software, use pre-made “sprites” to form objects and platforms, and use development tools to build interactive actions.
Teacher Christine Tsou said that despite having no previous programming experience, the students can design unique maze-based games after just a few hours of instruction.
“Designing games comes so natural to them. In an active learning environment, kids are keen to exercise their imagination and try a wide variety of game settings,” she said.
Tsou said the benefits include promoting students’ literacy and numeracy skills and practising other skills such as creating graphics, sound effects and musical scores.
She said that although constructing multiple-level games can be challenging, students quickly discover that careful planning can avoid a collision with an enemy and extend the playing time.
Through designing race or puzzle games, many are inspired to craft advanced games that require teamwork, planning, problem-solving and decision-making, Tsou added.
Tsou has integrated the GameMaker project into her IT 8 classes since 2011.