GameMaker Introduces Free Space Rocks Tutorial for Schools and Educators

Dundee, Scotland — GameMaker, the fast and friendly cross-platform game development engine, has introduced Space Rocks – a comprehensive new game design tutorial and lesson program for teachers and educators. 

“Space Rocks makes it easier than ever for schools and educators to introduce game design lessons to help boost student engagement and support STEM learning,” said Frank Moody, education liaison lead at GameMaker, adding: “Not only are the CSTA standards-based lesson plans and materials absolutely free to use, but so is the latest version of GameMaker for Educators. Game on!”

Space Rocks has been developed in line with CSTA (Computer Science Teachers Association) standards, providing the perfect introduction to computational thinking concepts and game design principles. The tutorial provides all the written and video-based learning materials required to help students learn how to use GameMaker and create their own asteroid shooter game, in just three lessons. …Read More

App of the Week: Construct 3

Ed. noteApp of the Week picks are now being curated by the editors of Common Sense Education, which helps educators find the best ed-tech tools, learn best practices for teaching with tech, and equip students with the skills they need to use technology safely and responsibly. Click here to read the full app review.

What’s It Like? 

Start your students off with the tutorial “Beginner’s Guide to Construct 3” to get them oriented; have middle school students work in pairs or teams if game design or programming is new to them. Next, have students peruse the Construct 3 Arcade to see what kinds of games are possible to create. Then have them brainstorm game ideas for their own games, either individually or as part of a development team. Once they decide on an idea, have students work out what will be needed inside the game, and then set them free to begin prototyping and programming. Encourage students to visit the community forums on the Construct 3 site, as well as their Reddit forums. There’s also a comprehensive user manual on the website for students’ reference.…Read More

App of the Week: A game that teaches game design

Ed. note: App of the Week picks are now being curated with help from the editors of, a free service from Common Sense Education. Click here to read the full app review.
Update: Microsoft is shuttering Project Spark. It is no longer available for download and online services for existing players will end Aug. 12.

Project Spark

What’s It Like? Project Spark is a digital game creator that lets students build their own games. Students can browse, play, and learn from other community-designed games and from plenty of genres: action/adventure, first-person shooter, arcade, puzzle, strategy, and platformer. Students will build 2-D or 3-D environments, write dialogue and scripts for their characters and stories, and execute complex lines of logic. This “kode,” as Project Spark calls it, dictates what the game world, objects, and characters will do and how they will behave. Once finished, students can upload their creations for others to play and/or remix.

Price: Free

Rating: 4/5…Read More

7 reasons why your school should teach robotics and game design

One teacher describes the big impact robotics, coding, and STEM has had on her students


I love every aspect of programming—the frustration, the creativity, everything. I taught myself and now I’m lucky enough to teach students how to code, build robots, and design mobile apps. I’m there to guide them, but the students, like me, are really learning these skills through their own hard work.

I think everyone should learn how to program and of course I’m no exception. My transformation from librarian-turned-tech facilitator to coding teacher started with a back room full of old busted computers. My school didn’t know what to do with them so I decided to fix them up and make them useful. Then I started thinking, “What else can I do?” I read something about Arduino and soon I was tinkering with parts, building, and programming anything I could get my hands on. It became a hobby.

When I moved to Plaquemine High School, near Baton Rouge, our principal had just written a big grant for the Dow Corp. to create a STEM program featuring elective classes in robotics and game design for 9-12th graders. When we got it, he asked me to design the curriculum, attend trainings, and teach the courses. It was a dream come true. Now I get to help students develop the creativity, logic, critical thinking, and career skills they need for the future. Here are seven reasons why every school should consider doing the same.…Read More