Giancarlos Alvarado is an elementary school teacher in Trenton, NJ and he let us know that he's written a piece on the unique approach he's been taking in his fifth grade classroom - designing a video game called Earthquake Terror: After Shock with his students. There's been a lot of attention given to the use of games in an educational setting, and it's great to read about the success of one teacher-designed plan of action - kids love it and parents and other teachers are equally as enthusiastic. But Alvarado is also honest with the problems and limitations of implementing such a program:
Parents and co-workers have been overwhelmingly positive about the project, citing its originality as a catalyst for more independent reading and learning ....
Video game development in the classroom is not for everyone and is still very difficult to implement today. A teacher must be not only highly computer literate and programming savvy, but also well versed in a middleware program such as RPG Maker XP. In order for a project such as ours to be applied to an everyday curriculum, teachers would require vast amounts of training, which is a costly obstacle.
The game was submitted to the 2008 IGF Student competition, and Alvarado says the students will be working on the game through the end of the school year. The article is short and sweet, but explains how the project came to be and how the class is putting together their game.
Making Video Games ... With Fifth Graders [Game Career Guide]