Gaming is a huge draw for many kids. I’ve found that students labeled twice exceptional, on the autism spectrum, and learning disabled can not only play complex games but love the creative side of gaming. How many first and second graders have told me their goal in life is to create computer games? That number seems to grow exponentially as they age.
GameMaker Studio is a terrific site for kids who are raring to create! I approached this gaming endeavor with a little trepidation, but the beginning tutorial was easily followed and went at a steady pace. I understood the basics and could have started making a game after that one lesson. In fact, I wondered if I could make this into a teaching platform but didn’t see any advantage in that, timewise.
Shaun Spalding, Community Manager at YoYo Games, talks to his audience via tutorials ranging from beginning level to advanced. There are 12 tutorials alone on platformers. NONE of it requires much reading/spelling, which is excellent for kids with dyslexia. (I was a bit startled to hear Shaun justify the basic steps by remarking that it will “help you understand what the h__ is going on in later tutorials.”) Most kids who might access this site in a gaming course would be middle school or older, but as a parent, I would get my kiddo involved in this level of coding/programming at an elementary level, especially if they enjoy Minecraft.
I read an excellent review of GameMaker: Studio on Graphite, a reliable source for reviews of apps (here’s a link to my previous post on Graphite, which also happens to start with a G!). According to their review, GameMaker: Studio “is one of the most popular game-creation tools” and allows kids to create, sell, and share their games quite easily. Kids (and adults) can start with a free membership but right now, Studio Premium is now HALF PRICE (especially helpful if they are eager to learn advanced skills and market their games)!
As a worthwhile educational outlet for gamers, to build social credit, and actually open the door to future careers in programming, GameMaker: Studio is a winner!