It is important for us as art educators to prepare our students for life outside of the classroom. One way to connect students to the world beyond the classroom is to expose them to some of the careers that artists fill. One career that is especially exciting for students is video game design. Many artists are finding their way into this arena and many more are aspiring to be a part of it. Love ’em, hate ’em, or shun ’em, video games are part of our culture. This is a medium that our students are familiar with, and more importantly recognize the relevance of. The multimedia industry is one of the fastest growing sectors in the world economy. This industry is a natural fit for many of our creative students. So now is the time to start showing them what their creative minds are capable of. If you are knowledgeable in Adobe Flash, you can use it to teach video game design. But not of us have that luxury. So how can we expose students to video game design, if we are a (ahem) inexperienced in video game design? Easy- use Scratch.
What is Scratch?
I first introduced to Scratch through ARTStem and a workshop held at The Center for Design Innovation where I was able to create an interactive math game for my daughter in just a matter of a couple of hours. Scratch is a program developed by MIT. It is completely free to download. It is actually it’s own computer language that helps students better understand how programming works. Students can easily create their own computer games using Scratch and then share them on the site for others to play. This program encourages dynamic learning and aligns nicely with 21st century learning. Scratch is designed for students from 8-16, but younger and older students can definitely find the process challenging and rewarding. Still intimidated? You shouldn’t be, because Scratch features educator support through ScratchEd, which is a great resource for teachers. Take a look at Scratch in the following video…
So, give it a try and implement video game design into your art curriculum. Show your students what their creative minds are capable of.
Visit the Scratch Website here and download the free software.