It's always a huge win when you find something fun, and engaging that also teaches valuable lessons. For years teachers have been developing fun and exciting lessons plans to jazz up dry, and slow education. We have seen how positive an exciting and interesting learning environment is, and what the benefits are.
We nailed this awesome learning environment with "Video Game Day." Recently video games have become the talk of the town, either for entertainment or education purposes; they have become a fantastic way to share information with massive groups of people.
We decided we would take advantage of this and had our campers work with two different game designing programs. The first was Scratch 2.0, a basic yet hard to master, visual programming software. This allowed our campers to learn the basics of logical computerized thinking and quick and rapid programming.
Our main issue with Scratch is that it has a steep learning curve after the basics, so besides basic programming it tends to be hard to use Scratch as a teaching tool. This is when we turned to the website: GameStarMechanic.com. This website was made to help teach level design and game development.
Gamestar Mechanic is an amazingly powerful tool, giving the users the ability to rapidly prototype and test their levels, as they play through the websites own storyline. This built in storyline allows the users (Our campers) to unlock new things (Blocks, Backgrounds, Enemies and Players) that they can use in their levels.
The most amazing part of it all is that both of these programs can be used from home; this allows our campers to continue their work outside of WMSI which is our main goal as a non-profit.