Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Sploder -- Cool Website Spotlight

Does every student in your class want to design a video game? Sometimes I've felt that way. They certainly love playing games in the computer lab when I'm not looking. When I was tasked with designing a 21st century technology course, I knew we'd be in the lab a lot. Video Games are a natural extension and I came across this jewel of a site that is ready for students -- Sploder.

Be the favoritest teacher ever.
On this site, you are able to design one of four different model games (each with a varying degree of difficulty). Three of them are designed primarily with dragging and dropping pre-designed objects into a world of their own creation. I started my students on what I thought was the simplest game. "The Classic Shooter" this allows a student to create a game board, set up tasks and objectives and litter their world with hazards. Students created high quality games in 2-3 days.

After learning the ins and outs of this, we moved on to "Platform Creator" and this is where they fell in love. Students are able to create games that surpass the  quality of original Nintendo games. They are able to create multiple levels and customize on a more intimate level.

Enter Rambo Spongebob
It was in the middle of this that I made a surprising revelation. Students were designing, testing, redesigning, getting peer feedback, offering feedback, revising. This is exactly what you want students to do with their English paper, but they are happy to turn in a 30 minute turd. After this was completed I shared this observation with students and got some interesting reflection.

The final game we created was the "Physics Puzzle Maker" which is an animal all in itself. This is finally the point some of the kids through in the towel and others buckled down. In this game builder, you are building and defining EVERYTHING that happens in the game. As opposed to the convenient dragging and dropping in the other games, this gets very complex, but there are some high quality video tutorials on YouTube that could help with it.

How will this fit into your class? Unless you are teaching technology, I'm sorry to say this likely will not work into your lesson plans, but if you need to cater to a student's interest in games, be the cool teacher that lets your student build a video game during lunch! There just not enough options to customize it to make it work into a lesson in a content class (believe me I've though about it for a long time). There is a ton a math and science on display, but right now I can't think of a meaty enough topic that could work with it.

Pass it along to the Computer teacher in your building though! And perhaps your own children need to get away from playing six straight hours of video games, but you'd rather spark their creative juices!

It truly is a fun site that I'm surprised I'd never heard of before. Check it out!

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