Scalable Game Design New York 2014

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The 2014 Scalable Game Design teacher professional development workshop in New York

In partnership with the NYC Foundation for Computer Science Education the Scalable Game Design project invites you to a free professional development workshop, July 30-August 1, to teach your students computer science through game design and simulation creation.

Programming does not have to be hard and boring. With the support of the National Science Foundation, over the last 20 years, we have created innovative programming tools (test-drive AgentCubes online), designed a highly motivational curriculum, and researched pedagogies to effectively broaden participation in computer science education. Through the largest middle school computer science education study in the USA, with nearly 20,000 students, Scalable Game Design created and assessed a strategy to bring computer science education everywhere from inner city to remote rural and even Native American communities. To successfully teach computer science through game design in your class room you don't actually need a computer science background, experience with game design or even experience with playing games.

Our publications indicate that even, if up to now, you are teaching applications such as Powerpoint or are teaching keyboarding Scalable Game Design is likely to help you to teach computer science concepts while at the same time broadening participation. The creative process of designing 2D and 3D characters, assembling complex worlds and program these characters is highly motivational and educational at the same time. Your students not only learn to program but also about problem solving, logical thinking, mathematical thinking and, perhaps most importantly, about computational thinking. The students start with creating simple 1980 style arcade games but quickly move on to sophisticated games and simulations including advanced concepts such as Artificial Intelligence. But don't just take our word for it, have a peek at videos of the work students, teachers and administrators have done in their schools.

NYC Foundation for Computer Science Education

Below find detailed information about what the program is, and how to apply.

Apply Now

Applications are closed for 2014. The 3 day workshop took place at Google New York

What Your School Receives from SGD NY:

The Stanford University School of Education and the University of Colorado School of Education have tested our software and curricula in classrooms for usability and efficacy. Well over 12,000 students have demonstrated that Computational Thinking – that is, the logic underlying all computer programming– improves with use of our products to build games and scientific simulations. Computational thinking is also used in describing and solving problems and relates to STEM through the application of critical thinking and problem solving techniques.

Results also show that kids across the board – girls, boys, underrepresented minorities, inner city, suburban, rural – are motivated by classes using our curricula. The curriculum's software is used with students from elementary school to postgraduate studies. NASA scientists have used our software to put simulations on a Space Shuttle mission, and entire school districts and large federally funded university projects are using our software to engage, motivate, and create innovative thinkers and users of technology.

  • Revolutionary computer science educational tools and curricula, proven to be effective through rigorous research
  • Research tested, highly engaging and motivating curricula and activities that teach students computational thinking, problem solving literacy, and programing by designing and creating video games and complex simulations that require sophisticated Artificial Intelligence.
  • AgentSheets 4.0 is a design and programming tool that utilizes drag-and-drop programming pioneered by the founder of SGD Project. Unique to AgentSheets 4.0 is that students can see JAVA code embedding the easy to use drag-and-drop interface.
  • Initial professional training by the original research team (see below "What SGD Teachers Learn..."
  • Follow up technical support by experts in the curricula
  • Quantitative assessment of actual computing skills demonstrated by students available
  • The Computational Thinking Patterns Analysis (CTPA) framework provides a means to gauge which computational thinking tools a students used to complete a specific project
  • Allows the collection of a personal inventory of computational thinking patterns by documenting potential design trajectories that would allow a cyberlearning system to answer which kind of project, with the necessary support, an individual could master next
  • Learning community of 97 schools in 41 district, in 16 states as well as Brazil and Switzerland
  • Additional training in intermediate and advanced levels of game design, STEM simulation design and use, and 3 dimensional game and simulation design and use is also available

What your Students Learn from SGD NYC Project

  • Drag-and-drop game design programming and coding, with transference to Java (See AgentCubes in action)
  • Design process and creative problem solving literacy
  • Computational thinking patterns through creating a series of games
  • How to apply computational thinking patterns in a broader context by creating STEAM (STEM plus Art) simulations
  • Begin learning the manipulation of data in simulations by collecting simulation data and analyzing it
  • Receive knowledge directly related to current and upcoming educational standards
  • Confidence, competence, engagement, and motivation in computer science and computational thinking, which are critical 21st century learner skills

What the SGD School Commits to:

Each participating school commits to provide:

A new scheduled course and/or an existing technology or computer science course to embed the curriculum

1. 6th - 8th grade level
  • New scheduled course
Minimum of one quarter in length (8 weeks) up to a semester in length
  • Existing course
Eight to ten 45 to 50 minute class periods (typically done in 2 to 3 weeks)
2. Implementation of curriculum at least once during the school year

Teacher selection

1. First choice:
  • At least 2 years teaching experience in computer science or technology
  • Experienced with project-based and inquiry-based pedagogy
2. Second choice:
  • At least 3 years teaching experience in a STEM field
  • Self-identifies as highly confident in computer usage
  • Experienced with project-based and inquiry-based pedagogy
  • CS and programming experience is preferred but not required
  • Interest and experience in playing or creating video games is helpful

Teacher support: each school and principal will

1. Confirm that the teacher receiving the PD will teach SGD curriculum in the classroom
2. Support the teacher in gaining permission to load software onto school computers and facilitate work with IT
3. Support the teacher as the interest in SGD grows and additional implementation becomes feasible

Hardware, internet access, and computer use access meeting the minimum project requirements

1. The school is responsible for ensuring adequate computer access to the teacher for the duration of the implementation

Visibility and awareness: communicate SGD Project activities to constituents including

1. Parents, teachers in the school, teachers outside the school, school and district administrators and leaders, community leaders and groups of interest by:
  1. Writing and issuing press releases and information letters
  2. Recording and publishing videos of teachers and students in the classroom
  3. Conducting Student Showcase events
  4. Sharing success stories and testimonials with the Project team for publication on the website
  5. Letter of Commitment: each school principal will issue a letter to the SGD Project expressing their commitment to participate, indicating their agreement to the above 5 provisions.

What the SGD Teacher Commits to:

  • Attend the summer Professional Development training for 3 days in NYC: June 30-August 1, 2014
  • Be familiar with the classroom implementation process of SGD
  • Consult with the school IT department to install software
  • Teach students using the curriculum materials taught during the summer training: One to eight week unit or class on game-design
  • Administer online motivational questionnaires and computational thinking surveys to students
  • Help students upload their games and simulations to the Scalable Game Design Arcade
  • Collect and turn in all necessary research participation forms
  • Communicate regularly with the SGD NY team

What SGD Teachers Learn at the Summer Professional Development Training:

Participants who attend Scalable Game Design NYC Summer Institute attend a 3 day exemplar training in a game design curriculum with a track record of high success. Over 140 teachers impacting more than 12,000 students of all abilities and demographics have been part of the project.

SGD Summer Institutes are hands on, with the teacher becoming the student for the duration of the Institute. Content is presented by both the original developers of the project as well as classroom teachers with in-the-trenches experience teaching game design to students. Peer leadership and mentoring successfully motivates new teachers, who in turn gets students in school interested in computer science and game design, advanced game design (such as Sokoban, Pacman and Space Invaders), and computational science (building scientific simulations and using them to collect and analyze data). Throughout the Institute, teachers learn about effective pedagogy, how to create lesson plans, and create a supportive network with colleagues. Summer Institutes also instruct each teacher on the "how-to"'s of conducting research data collection in their classes, adding to a critical body of knowledge that has far-reaching national and international impact on education.

  • Game design immersion experience for 3 days: using AgentSheets software and creating original games and how to teach this to students in a fast-paced, hands-on training
  • How to teach computational thinking (CT) concepts and processes and assessing this knowledge, and the value of CT and game design beyond computer science
  • How pedagogy impacts student learning, engagement and motivation
  • How creating 2D games leads directly to creation of STEM simulations
  • How to teach Scalable Game Design to your students: lesson plans, embedding the cirruculum into an existing class, creating a new course
  • Advantages of working in teams and building a teacher support system and community

What Support SGD Teachers Receive After the Summer Training:

  • Curricular and classroom resources and tools available on the Scalable Game Design wiki website to develop lesson plans, handouts, assist themselves and students, learn about research, expand knowledge and understanding
  • Technical support
  • Teacher learning community
  • Optional training in intermediate and advanced game and simulation design