posted this 13 June 2012
Announcing Studio K – Program to make Kodu Curriculum and Tools more accessible in Classrooms
Collaborating with Microsoft and the Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) Foundation, the Educational Research group at the Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery at the University of Wisconsin-Madison has created the curriculum and tools to make video game design programs such as Microsoft Kodu more accessible in K-12 classrooms.
Called Studio K, the instructional toolkit makes it easier to teach students how to design their own video games and assess whether the activity affects their abilities to solve problems with computers.
While many studies highlight the benefits of playing educational video games, this new partnership seeks to understand whether the act of designing video games boosts students’ computational thinking and science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) skills.
“If you think about it, 10 years ago, the idea that video games soon could be replacing text books in schools was considered crazy talk,” said Joe Booth, Executive Producer at Microsoft Studios. “Today, thanks to the work of pioneers like our partners at the Wisconsin Intitutes for Discovery, this is starting to become a reality today. With continued support around robust research and innovate new curriculum, there is now a credible argument that games and learning will shape education on a large scale in the future.”
“The Studio K curriculum breaks it down step-by-step for instructors to teach the skills for making a game, ranging from aesthetics to computing,” says Ben Shapiro, a UW-Madison researcher who leads the project. “But we’re also giving teachers learning analytics tools, including data visualizations, to monitor students’ progress, see when students are stuck or need help, and give specific feedback about learning.”
So far, the UW-Madison team has piloted Studio K in classrooms and afterschool settings in Wisconsin, including the local Boys & Girls Club of America chapter.
“Our Club members have enjoyed the hands-on and interactive activities, the opportunity to work with college students and to be a part of a project that prepares tomorrow’s learners for fields in science and technology,” says Stephanie Berto, Youth Manager at the Dane County Boys & Girls Club.
Along with the Microsoft, the AMD Foundation has supported the UW educational research team in creating the new curriculum and tools.
“We’ve known for years that playing games can enhance STEM learning,” says AMD Foundation President Allyson Peerman. “With this exciting collaboration, we hope to uncover the link between making games and STEM learning.”
The official press release is available here. You can learn more about Studio K from their website.
You can download Kodu for free at Kodu Game Lab.
You can download the Studio K curriculum for free here.