Scalable Game Design Summer Institutes bring together teachers with leading-edge researchers in Computer Science Education who are developing highly effective and easy to use computational thinking curricula for classrooms.
Summer Institutes bring technology and content (STEM, Language Arts, etc.) teachers from primarily middle school (with limited spaces for elementary and high school teachers) together to learn how to use game design and simulation design for computer science education and computational thinking, in a wide variety of classrooms.
Participants who apply and are accepted into the Scalable Game Design Summer Institute come to the University of Colorado Boulder campus for up to a week of exemplar training in a game design curriculum with a track record of high success. Scalable Game Design has been successfully implemented by over 300 teachers impacting more than 18,000 students of all abilities and demographics.
Thanks to the National Science Foundation's funding, support from the software company AgentSheets, Inc., and the University of Colorado Boulder, participants teaching in USA schools who are accepted to the research portion of the program can attend the Summer Institute for no charge and even receive a stipend once the classroom implementation is complete. Spaces are also available for non-research participants to register for the training for a reasonable fee.
New for 2017, Summer Institute attendees will learn and master 3D game design and gain confidence in teaching game design to students through the use of the AgentCubes Online computational thinking tool. Attendees will also receive an introduction to computer modeling/creation of simulations in STEM subjects. Beginner attendees will take four days to learn the material. Intermediate attendees (those who have previously participated in the Scalable Game Design project) will learn the material in a new four day format that offers a variety of workshops to take student learning to the next level.
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 by classroom teachers with in-the-trenches experience teaching game design to students. Peer leadership and mentoring successfully motivate new teachers, who in turn get 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 and how to deliver lesson plans, and create a supportive network with colleagues. For research participants, Summer Institutes also provide clear instruction 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.
Due to the popularity and effectiveness of the program, Summer Institutes are now available as Professional Development workshops to schools and districts on a case-by-case basis, for a fee. The project partners with a school or district to train Teacher Trainers who can mentor others in their schools and districts, then assists and supports school-wide and district-wide implementation of the program.
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