Globaloria: Engaging Students in Flash Game Design to Enhance STEM Skills

Posted by SM Bruner on

I learned about an an innovative program that is engaging young people in Flash game design at the Games 4 Change conference in NY. We are very interested in this space because BrainPOP has launched a new initiative to showcase educational games, learning games and student made games called GameUp. I found this program particularly interesting because Flash is the program uses to create their educational animations. I was very impressed by a presentation given by Otis Robinson, a teacher in Brooklyn who is teaching students to use Flash in his classroom. Flash is a very powerful tool and a very sought after skill in the 21st Century workplace, so I was psyched to learn about Globaloria, the program that he was representing.  I was able to speak to Otis after the program and was blown away by the great things he is doing with game design in his urban classroom.  The Gateway School services an urban community where almost one third of the population lives below the poverty line and over seventy percent are minorities. Globaloria-NY is in its first pilot year with eighth grade students at I.S. 364-Gateway Intermediate School and it has been very successful in engaging students in compelling project-based learning to enhance STEM skills.

Globaloria-NY students engage in Globaloria learning five days a week for 90-minutes a day for the complete academic year. The Globaloria curriculum and platform is integrated directly into the school’s regular curriculum, and students receive both a grade and credit upon completion of the course. In its first year, IS 364 students are using Globaloria to augment their core content knowledge in the areas of Science and Civics, while building STEM, digital and 21st-century skills.

Globaloria is a web based social network and program developed by  World Wide Workshop to cultivate web 2.0 skills, computational creativity, inventiveness, and social awareness through game design. This professional learning community (PLC) allows teachers and administrators to share best practices and resources.

Globalorias mission is to:

1) To engage millions of students in digital learning for mastering the knowledge and skills they need to succeed in school, college and careers in the global innovation economy.

2) To empower educators and school systems by enhancing their 21st-century capabilities and STEM learning and teaching opportunities.

3) To power up classrooms and turn them into networked design studios that motivate students to work harder and dig deeper into content and complex projects

The World Wide workshop has created a curriculum around teaching game design to students so it is an ever growing database and the Globaloria network is expanding rapidly. Globaloria-New York is it’s newest program and it has build on the learning and experience from over five years of successfully implementing Globaloria in a variety of learning contexts, including as a state-wide learning network across West Virginia and a school-wide learning network in a charter school in East Austin, Texas.

Globaloria is transforming teaching and learning at East Austin College Prep Academy in Austin, TX as well. If you would like to learn more about Globaloria in Austin Tx. you can watch mini docs on teachers and students like Voices from the Field (The video was a Finalist in this Year’s Lights. Camera. Help. Film Festival in Austin, Texas). Take a look at some mini-documentaries about teen-agers Laura and Chris and their teachers, to learn more about how Globaloria is transforming teaching and learning in East Austin, Texas, and introducing young students to computing education and creative problem-solving through game making.