There’s been a lot of buzz lately about the use of gaming in the classroom – from the ‘gamification’ of learning to the use of Minecraft to teach everything from physics to strategic thinking. Since long before education technology even existed, video games have been a hugely successful way to engage students, creating a fun and compelling environment in which they can learn, develop and interact with their peers. But allowing students to actually take control of designing the game themselves takes the concept to a whole new level, allowing them to practice a host of new creative and technical skills. Here are 5 top websites – let the games begin!
Design Your Own Game Apps
GamePress is a brilliant free app that allows students to build games easily on the iPad with no programming or graphic design experience. Whether you have a story to tell, a topic to teach, or just want to play a game, GamePress allows you to create, share, and play right on your iPad. For users who are new to making games, an interactive guide will help you make your first game in minutes!
Codea is the perfect app for more advanced students. Built on the Lua programming language, Codea allows students to dig deeper than just graphics on the screen and actually venture into the app code. Making use of iPad features like Multi-Touch and the accelerometer there are so many great ways to make games more engaging. Although nearly anything is possible with the app, take a look at one of the most successful games created with Codea, ‘programming game’ Cargo-Bot.
Buildbox is an intuitive easy-to-use game system that is loved by beginners and experts alike. You can use the included templates, or go on your own to build one from scratch. With assets available for both 2D and 3D games, you’ll have the tools available to make your idea come to life.
One of the great things about BuildBox is the wide range of getting started tutorials. They not only help with game design but also with tips on exporting to Android and iOS so you can share and play your game creations with others. They’ve also created a series for complete newbies here.
Design Your Own Game Sites
With Factile, teachers and students can create Jeopardy-style quiz games within minutes. Have fun reviewing lessons in four game modes; engage students with Jeopardy-style, classic memory, flashcards, or multiple-choice games. Create custom games or create games from the over million already-created games in the game library.
The Buzz-in feature makes the games ideal for flipped classrooms, remote learning, or in-classroom experiences. Pro Buzzer mode has a game board with fun interactive buzzer sound effects, perfect for a game show experience. Students buzz in from home using their tablets, phones, computers or play on-screen in the classroom. They can play any game, not just the games they created. Fractile integrates with Google Classroom, making it easy for teachers to assign team review games or share flashcards for individual study games.
However, if you want to save your favorite games in progress, the pro version for home or school is not expensive and offers many features. The free account allows students to share their game, has multi-language (English, Spanish, German, French, Chinese, Italian, and Arabic) support, and kids can create up to three custom games. Plus, you can create an unlimited number of games and have 100 teams.
Create amazing games on Roblox Studio, a 3D video game development platform. One of the fastest-growing kids’ entertainment platforms, Roblox offers lots of games to play and the opportunity to create new games with Roblox Studio’s Developer Hub. Intuitive to use, kids quickly become game developers themselves. Over half of Roblox users are kids. They love it because it’s free, has an ever-expanding library, and it is easy for amateur game designers to create their games.
Roblox Studio Developer Hub allows kids to create and test their game in an isolated environment, ready the game publisher for the Roblox website.
With over 50 million monthly players, a novice can make a game public to an interactive, global ecosystem. The Robux community encourages and supports the game design and the development of new, popular games. The Developer Hub offers lots of resources and Gameplay tutorials for beginners, and there’s no stopping creativity and imagination from going deeper. There’s even the opportunity for kids over 13 to earn money as game design and developers, an excellent way to explore a possible career.
Roblox is free to play. However, for additional accessories and features, you need Robux currency. A team of 2,3000 people plus AI help monitor the games to keep them safe for kids. Parental controls, restricting voice chats to approved friends, and birth dates under 13 will filter inappropriate content.
Budding game designers will love GDevelop, an open-source 2D game engine. Created by Florain Rival, GDevelop is intuitive and fast. Kids don’t need any previous experience to create fun games without coding. By extending the open-source engine, students can learn and use the C+ programming language in the classroom.
Visual programming is easy and fun. Add ready-made behaviors to game objects when creating a simple platform or an ambitious indie game. Curious adventurers can write new, custom behaviors with the drag-drop system and logic; actions require fulfilling conditions to launch.
The GDevelop editor has the game scene in the middle, the Objects Editor with building blocks to the right, and the Project Manager with the assets and scenes to the left. Without programming, a child can develop levels and add events to their game; beginner tutorials and complete documentation for software provide help in all areas.
Create mobile apps that are compatible with tablets, iOS, and Android. Features include a physics engine, multi-touch support, path-finding, hit-boxes, multiple layers, cameras, tiled maps, and multi-language support. Create games within the browser and publish your game anywhere with one click – on the web, Steam, Itch.io, Newsground, Windows Store, and Facebook.
Specially designed with students in mind, this site allows them to design more academic games, like multiple-choice quizzes, head-to-head ‘knowledge battles’ or map-based geography games. Great for allowing students to design their own fun games to check their knowledge at the end of learning about a particular topic.
More Game Websites and Apps To Explore
- RPG Makercreates RPG stories with its Map Editor and Character Generator. The database and events features setting the character skills and appearance, defining equipment, enemies, battle states, and changing the game settings between turn-based and time progress battle systems.
- Flolab.io game engine allows kids to create favorite games and apps without coding experience.
- Google Maps Platformbuilds games on Google Maps infrastructure taking players to real-world locations.
- Game Builder Garagehelps kids understand the basics of visual programming. Each lesson has multiple parts for kids to learn at their pace.
- Kudo began as an AI-Fueled Dungeon game. It is a Microsoft Research project using the XBox controller within predefined rules and interactions to create imaginative games for XBox.
- Gamefroot makes coding fun, fast tracking the art of video game creation. Solve real industry problems while learning creative coding, design thinking, and publishing games developed.
- Gethopscotch help kids build critical thinking, logic, and problem-solving skills while developing games for on iPhone and iPad.
What ‘design your own game’ sites or tools are you using to encourage students to get creative in gaming? And do you think these are worthwhile skills for students to learn? Let us know in the comments below.
Feature image courtesy of Flickr, JD Hancock.