the agent man writes: Researchers at the University of Colorado have been running the worlds largest study exploring how to integrate computer science education through game design in public schools. Over 10,000 students (45% women) from some of the most diverse, most isolated, toughest and poorest schools in the USA participated in making games and STEM simulations. The researchers have developed a strategy to reach an extraordinarily high percentage of students by making game design based computer science education part of existing “computing” middle school courses. Sadly these courses typically focus on rather boring topics such as keyboarding and gaining Microsoft Office skills. Instead of just exposing a handful of self-selected students in after school programs the curriculum called Scalable Game Design exposes a large number of students (in some middle schools 350 students per year, per school) to computer science. The focus of the paper presented at the 2013 SIGCSE conference and part of the National Science Foundation showcase is the exploration of sustainability. If federal grants are used to train and support teachers, how likely will it be for schools participating in the research to continue or even move beyond the goals of the training once the support stops? How many of the schools start with game design and later manage to transfer these skills to STEM simulation creation? The data collected over a period of four years and with more than 10,000 games and simulations produced by students suggests that 81% of schools have advanced beyond the basic requirement. That is, teachers and students have created more, and in most cases more advanced, games and simulations than they were trained to do. Researchers also analyzed motivational and skill data to investigate interaction between pedagogy and motivation relevant to broadening participation and to look for evidence of transfer between game design and science simulation creation. Scalable Game Design is based on the AgentSheets and AgentCubes game design and simulation creation tools.
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