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Nashville and Houston Public School Districts Add New Web-Based Game Design Courses

Public school districts in Nashville, TN and Houston, TX will launch new STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) courses in their high schools. The courses will teach students in grades 10-12 how to design and develop computer games.

The courses were developed by STEM Fuse, a provider of Web-based STEM education courses. The school districts will offer two STEM Fuse courses: GAME:IT and GAME:IT Advanced. Both courses are semester-long programs that will be implemented as technology electives. According to the company, they will "teach students critical thinking and problem solving skills using the engineering cycle, as well as build upon math and physics skills."

GAME:IT is an 18-week introductory-level course that requires no prior programming knowledge by students or teachers. It starts with "drag-and-drop" programming and works up to writing computer code. It offers 12 games for development including a simple ping pong game, a Pac Man game, maze games, and a space battle game.

GAME:IT Advanced introduces the student to the C# programming language and game development using XNA game studio. The final part of the course is a role-playing game (RPG) development project.

GAME:IT and GAME:IT Advanced are available on an annual subscription basis at a cost of $499 per school, and the courses are available to all students within the subscribing school. The subscription provides all Web-based course materials, including teacher guides, lesson plans, workbooks, and quizzes. STEM Fuse also offers webinars and ongoing customer support for subscribers.

Nashville has already implemented the program starting this semester, and Houston plans to implement it starting with the fall semester.

Further information about GAME:IT and GAME: IT Advanced can be found at stemfuse.com.

About the Author

Leila Meyer is a technology writer based in British Columbia. She can be reached at leilameyer@gmail.com.

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