STEM | Resource Spotlight

Better Learning Through Game Design

The World Wide Workshop's six-year-old social learning network, Globaloria, is designed to teach science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) skills through hands-on game design and programming.

With Globaloria, students in grades 6 through 12 use Adobe Creative Suite software to design and program games about STEM-related topics, social issues, environmental issues, civics, or music. For example, students created a game called House Fixers 2, where players have to reduce fractions before an animated house collapses, and Tiger Savior, a safari-themed game about the environmental threats facing tigers. Students use Adobe Flash Professional to design and program the games, Adobe Photoshop to design game characters, Adobe Illustrator to create game elements, and Adobe Fireworks to create special effects.

Established in 2006, Globaloria provides a self-paced digital curriculum where students work through the entire game development process from their original idea to finished product. It's available in two implementation models: The school-based program requires 100 to 150 hours, while the after school or summer program is a shorter course that requires 40 to 80 hours to complete. According to Globaloria, educators can integrate the program into core curriculum, subject enrichment, or elective classes to encourage deeper mastery of the subject matter, or they can offer it as a stand-alone technology class.

Tiger Savior, a safari-themed game about the environmental threats facing tigers.

"Many students who never learned to code before and who never thought of themselves as programmers are delving into coding through their use of Flash in the course of their Globaloria experience," said Idit Harel Caperton, president and founder of the World Wide Workshop, in a prepared statement. "We have built a highly structured, yet user-friendly and playful environment for youth to take their first steps into computer science and software engineering."

Key features of Globaloria include:

  • Customizable curriculum;
  • 360-degree learning system for students, teachers, and principals;
  • STEM content and skill-building;
  • Professional development and mentoring; and
  • Technical support.

Further information about the program is available on the Globaloria site.

About the Author

Leila Meyer is a technology writer based in British Columbia. She can be reached at [email protected].