"Many students do not have the perseverance needed to be successful in math. As students become older, the problems become more complex. They are no longer just being shown an algorithm to follow - they need to problem solve, and actually THINK."
"This is a huge change since the industrial age where manual laborers were needed. You didn't need to think or problem solve to put the same bolt in the same hole for 8 hours a day. And thus, students were taught to memorize algorithms and repeated them over and over until they mastered the skill. When I was taking grad classes on teaching math to middle school students, the math professors told me that the biggest problem they saw with in-coming freshman was their inability to THINK."
"After facilitating the students in their programming of Frogger and Journey, they are given the task of creating their own game or simulation that aligns with the expedition we are doing. (I teach at an Expeditionary Learning School where we teach 2 expeditions a year. Expeditions are an in-depth student of a topic that is taught through ALL disciplines.)"
"This is when the students REALLY begin to problem solve and think for themselves. They whole-heartedly get the experience of coming up with an idea for their game or simulation, and then writing a plan to get it to fruition. They use a lot of the same strategies we use in math class to problem solve."
"I have NEVER had a student "give up" when they were programming - no one has EVER said, "I don't get it." or "I can't do it". (which happens in math class) If their program is not working, they seek out help, either from a peer, or from me."
- – Marilyn Delaney, teacher at Schoolcraft Learning Community K8
“Scalable Game Design is a valuable class to expand game design and coding skills as well as critical thinking, reasoning, and problem solving in students.”
- – NVVA Family Support/STEM Advisor
"I used to only have 2 or 3 girls in my elective computer classes, now half of the class is girls."
"My 6th graders were bummed out that class was over and they ran out of time using AgentSheets. Several said they were going down to the counseling office to put computers as their first elective choice now."
- – Greg Peters, TIDE, Computers
"I’ve been using AgentCubes almost all year, my students are obsessed! We’ve done Frogger, PacMan, and are now on to creating our own games that promote either social or environmental change. I use the program for Digital Arts curriculum, so we focus a lot of discussions around creative problem solving. Productive failure has been a great way to drive creativity and experimentation. Maybe not all of my students will grow up to be computer scientists or game designers, but they will all need to know how to think outside of the box to come up with new and innovative solutions for whatever career they find themselves in someday."
- - Lauren Schroer, Denver School of Science and Technology Byers Middle School
"My students have been more engaged in their learning through the Scalable Game Design. The students have increased their critical thinking skills and are better able to make connections in solving problems. I do not give them a step-by-step handout of what they do to code the game, but allow them to create and learn by making connections with trial and error. Many students struggle with this to start as they want a black and white list of tasks they can check off versus the creative thinking that Scalable Game Design allows them. Once my students begin to have success in this process, they begin to be better at the computational thinking. The learning that has happened in my classroom has made me students stronger in their problem solving skills."
- - Amy Hogsett, Eaton Middle School
"I have been bragging to anyone who will listen that I finally feel like I am facilitating critical thinking (computational thinking!). The students were unsure at first about how to handle this kind of thing and kept asking for the right answer. They have been "forced" to walk through their thinking and try to problem solve. I LOVE it! It has been hard and takes a little more time than I had hoped but the outcome is amazing. Students are able to work at individual levels and some of the advanced operations that they are trying once their basic Frogger game is so great for the kids who can leap to that level! For guided discovery, I modeled some of the first part of the Frogger game and then we talked about the checklist and how they would add the next components and make them work. I haven't really shown them the answers but rather just talked through the operations and then asked them to figure out how to make it happen. Thank you! Thank you!"
Follow up comment about "takes a little more time": "It is hard for me not to give the kids the answer. I am changing the way I teach and trying to facilitate inquiry rather than lecture and give answers. I have to stop myself often. :) It takes more time to let kids puzzle it out. I won't get to everything I had planned for this quarter class but don't want to change the pacing if it means taking the inquiry cycle out of this...You have given me so many resources and the training was wonderful. I feel very prepared and well supported to teach this class and the materials are well done and easy to use!"
- - Laura Israelsen, teacher at Hulstrum Middle School
"Several of my 6-8 grade girls signed up for a class this school year offered at Bemidji State University, "Girls Who Code". They don't like it nearly as much as AgentSheets and AgentCubes. They are using "Scratch", and the girls say that they can not be as creative with it. But - they would have NEVER signed up for such a class if it weren't for SGD getting them started!!"
- - Marilyn Delaney, teacher at Schoolcraft Learning Community K8
"AgentSheets is one of the most popular things we do at Centennial Middle. All 6th graders are introduced to AgentSheets and many kids of all grades come to computer Club just to build AgentSheets games."
- – Burke Taft, teacher at Centennial Middle School
"A year ago, the boy could barely read. And now he's doing OOP [object oriented programming]--I love that."
– David Brode, parent
"The Scalable Game Design class allows for positive, purposeful social interaction. The students are highly motivated to share their designs, and are appropriately challenged at their level by Mr. Rasar."
-4th grade parent
"I have seen my son’s skill set and confidence immensely expand just in the few months he has been taking the class. His enthusiasm for a career in computer science continues to increase as he learns more complicated skills to add to his mental tool kit."
-7th grade parent
"I give this class the highest vote possible. I love coding, I like drag and drop. This program allows you to make your games very advanced with your own characters. I also like that you can see other people's games."
– 4th grade student
"I love the scalable game design class because I can create and play my very own video games that I might want to make when I grow up. One of my favorite things that I've learned is how to make my character shoot arrows and bullets etc. I also love the fact that you can get your character off the internet instead of taking a lot of time to draw them to be perfect."
-6th grade student