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GCG Feature: ‘Making Video Games With Fifth Graders’

Giancarlos Alvarado is a teacher who believes in an integrated classroom, using technology across the curriculum by having his students -- just 11 years old -- develop a creative and educational video game in class. He shares his technique in a
December 06, 2007
New Jersey state public school teacher Giancarlos Alvarado has started teaching game development -- to a class of fifth grade students. In a new article on GameCareerGuide.com, he explains how he’s pulled off his cirriculum, having to justify it to the state, to parents, and to himself. In this excerpt, he reveals how his classroom came to embrace such a huge project: “In 2003, I worked for an after school program, and we were in need of activities that would keep the students busy. Around the same time I discovered this neat software application called RPG Maker (used to create simple role-playing video games) and wondered, ‘What if I teach my kids how to create a game?’ I started a video game club, and it was a smashing success. We had a lot of clubs at the time, such as dancing, art, and gym but it was the video game club that was the most popular by far. Kids would join the group after finishing their homework and work on individual RPG Maker projects. At the end of the year, each student received a CD of his or her video game to play at home. I continued to run the club until late 2004 when I decided to focus on finishing my college education. Now, having graduated, I am a full-time fifth grade teacher with my very own classroom which allows me to test the waters beyond after school programs to see games can be just as beneficial in the classroom." The class project, Earthquake Terror: After Shock has even been submitted to the 2008 IGF competition. To learn more about the game and project, and to see pictures of the classroom where it was made, read the article on GameCareerGuide.com.

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