The best FREE resources of game building for teachers and children:
Building games for teaching
Teach with Portal – Today, innovative educators are finding ways to incorporate Portal™ and Portal 2 into their classrooms—helping teach physics and critical-thinking skills. It’s eye-opening to see how video games can be used in amazing and unexpected ways to help educate our next generation. You’ll find the beginnings of an engaging set of lesson plans, created by teachers, using the Portal 2 Puzzle Maker. Teachers sign up for the Education Beta and get access to Portal 2 and the Portal 2 Puzzle Maker and a teacher-created collection of puzzles for as many students as they’d like – for free.
Machinima (from Knowclue’s wiki) – Film making in virtual worlds can have many roles in education from digital story telling and making documentaries by students in the K-12 classroom to creative expression in the Arts to training farmers about climate change in developing nations. Virtual worlds provide limitless sets, endless locations, a huge cast of actors, affordable special effects and interesting camera angles. It can be done in commercial virtual worlds and games such as Second Life, ReactionGrid or World of Warcraft on your behind the firewall local virtual world like OpenSim on a USB stick.
ClassTools – Over 20 free web tools for teachers … create quizzes, diagrams, and educational games, you can host them on your own site free of charge (licensed under creative common). … plus no log in. There are also pre-made games on ClassTools.net which teachers will find useful.
Purpose Games is a free service that allows users to create custom games, share, and play. You can create basic multiple choice game, or naming placemarks on the image or map that you create.
Parade of Games in Powerpoint was developed by faculty at the University of Wisconsin at Whitewater. It provides teachers with games and game templates for classroom use, can be downloaded in Powerpoint format, including Bingo, Jeopardy, and scavenger hunts.
Jeopardy Labs is a free service to create online Jeopardy game from a blank template. The completed game will be given its one unique url. Post that url on your blog, wiki, or website and anyone can then play your game.
Tools for Educators – free worksheet makers, game creators (word search maker, board games, crossword puzzle maker bingo board maker, maze maker…), 100% customizable worksheet generators with images
ProProfs Brain Games let you create interactive crossword puzzles, jigsaw puzzles, word searches, hangman games, sliding puzzle games and quizzes. The games you create or all games from their gallery can be embedded into your blog or shared with email or social media.
What 2 Learn lets teachers create custom games using twelve different templates provided, What 2 Learn also offers teachers the option to monitor their students’ scores, there are already more than two thousand educational games for middle school and high school age students offered.
Adventure Maker is a free toolkit to create point-and-click games and multimedia software in minutes, without any scripting or programming. It runs on Windows, and it allows creating software for Windows, PSP, iPhone, and iPod touch. It is particularly suitable for the creation of picture-based adventure games, virtual tours, educational software, presentations, and interactive visits.
Zondle is a website trying to make question sets of your study topics mashed up with different game patterns, there are thousands of topics already built, you also can input your question set and combined it with any game you choose.
PowerPoint Heaven is a PowerPoint entertainment portal for PowerPoint animations, games, artworks, showcases, animation templates and tutorials.
PowerPoint Activities Templates and Games created by other teachers, like Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, and Hollywood Squares games.
Learn to program by making computer games using Python, click the link to get the free tutorial ebooks.
Adventure Game Studio provides the tools to make your own adventure, for free! Bring your story and artwork and slot it in, and let AGS do the rest. AGS provides everything you need from within one easy-to-use application. Create, test and debug your game, all in one place.
GameSalad is the democratization of game creation. It aims to open the doors of game design to anyone who wants to create. With GameSalad’s complete set of tools and editors, bring your game to market faster and easier ; and without coding a single line.
Sploder makes it easy for you to make your own games for free online and share them with your friends. You could make platformer games, spaceship shooters, space adventure games, and physics games. Sploder allows you to easily put Flash games on your site without having to learn Flash.
Thinking Worlds is a free 3D sims & games engine and authoring environment. It enables novice and advanced developers alike to create and publish highly immersive simulations – rapidly. It has been designed from the start around the needs of designers and enables them to carry their designs forward quickly. It enables you to publish your project as either a standalone sim, a web-delivered sim or even a mobile sim for iPad and iPhone.
Edusim is a Cave Automatic Virtual Environment “Immersive Touch” 3D Natural User Interface (NUI) based concept of lesson driven (multi-user) 3D virtual worlds on the classroom interactive whiteboard or classroom interactive surface. The Edusim concept is demonstrated by the Edusim free and open source multi-user 3D Open Cobalt virtual world platform and authoring tool kit modified for the classroom interactive whiteboard or surface. The Edusim application is a modified edition of the open source Open Cobalt Project and relies heavily on the affordances of direct manipulation of 3D virtual learning models and Constructionist Learning Principles.
Free Gamer is all about is free software games whose source code and media are made available under a license permitting modification and redistribution.
If you like to look for more information this kind of tools, check out: Game Creation Tools, some are free, some aren’t, while some are open source, and they are all free to try.
Game building resources good for young learners
CoderDojo is an open source, volunteer led movement orientated around running free not-for-profit coding clubs (Dojos) for young people. Check out the resources organized by their volunteers, and Kata – the knowledge base of coursework that has been developed by mentors from around the world. Here you will find an Overview of Learning Resources tried, tested and contributed by members of the global CoderDojo community. A few highlights are:
- For learning to program motivated by MINECRAFT!
- Python Power
- The Hardware Laboratory: Robots, Arduinos, Raspberry Pis, Electronic kits, NodeJs copters, Kinects and other controllers.
jsdares is an experimental educational programming environment.You can learn by playing “dares” created by other users, or explore the “computational universe” on your own. If you already know programming, you can create dares and share them with the world. It is an open source proof-of-concept.
“Maybe we don’t need a silver bullet. We just need to take off our blindfolds to see where we’re firing.” — Bret Victor in Learnable Programming
TouchDevelop lets you create apps on iPad, iPhone, Android, PC, Mac, Windows Phone. The editor is touch-friendly, it works great on phones, tablets, and PC.
Scratch and learning resources at Learnscratch.org ; Scratch is a new programming language developed by the Lifelong Kindergarten group at the MIT Media Lab, in collaboration with the UCLA Graduate School of Education and Information Studies. It was developed with financial support from the National Science Foundation, Intel Foundation, and MIT Media Lab research consortia. It supports the development of 21st century learning skills. (Scratch website has 44 languages available, including simplified Chinese)
- Bookmark – Twenty Webs Sites To Support Scratch And The Itch For Transforming Education by Michael Gorman
KinderCoder was built for the 1st & 2nd graders prior to them being introduced to the full Scratch version from GreenBush Lab : download here
Code Monster from Crunchzilla is a fun introduction to programming concepts. It is a first step in learning to program. Code changes immediately yield visible results. Projects start with simple boxes and colors, rapidly progressing into exciting experiments with simple animation and fractals. Important programming concepts like variables, loops, conditionals, expressions, and functions are introduced by example.
Stencyl uses a drag-and-drop system, where users pull together different building blocks in order to create programs. It enables the game creation process for kids. It builds off the wildly successful MIT Scratch project and extend Scratch’s simple block-snapping interface with new functionality and hundreds of ready-to-use blocks.
AR SPOT is an augmented-reality authoring environment for children. An extension of MIT’s Scratch project, this environment allows children to create experiences that mix real and virtual elements. Children can display virtual objects on a real-world scene observed through a video camera, and they can control the virtual world through interactions between physical objects. It is a research group in the GVU Center at the Georgia Institute of Technology.
ARIS is a user-friendly, open-source platform for creating and playing mobile games, tours and interactive stories. Using GPS and QR Codes, ARIS players experience a hybrid world of virtual interactive characters, items, and media placed in physical space.
GLOBALORIA GAMES is a platform/online community for deepening content knowledge and enabling project-based learning through Game/Simulation production from youth.
Sharendipity enables students and teachers to quickly create and share simple video games. The drag and drop creation tools can be used to create a game in as simple as four steps.
Gamestar Mechanic is both a game and a online community that teaches kids how to design video games. Designed for 4th – 9th grade students, and intended to teach systems thinking, iterative design and collaborative skills. It’s suitable for beginners of game design.
GameMaker (from YoYoGames) enables making computer games without need of writing codes, develop simple video games using a drag and drop editor, customize backgrounds and actions throughout the games.
Stagecast Creator is easy for kids to create video games, mazes and puzzles, but powerful enough for teenagers to make cool 2D games. You also can play the games that other game creators have made and then change those games!
Platinum Arts Sandbox Free 3D Game Maker offers a free 3D game-making engine. A more advanced option for more ambitious game creators. This open source tool makes it easy for kids and adults to make their own games!
Gamefroot is a fantastic toolbox for making nice-looking platform games.
RoboMind is a downloadable programme that teaches programming through a virtual robotic rover. Design games and challenges with your robot moving and finding objects. The commands are similar to MS Logo, but the interface and graphics are vastly more child-friendly. It is free for personal use.
ChallengeYou is a safe online community of really creative kids. aMazer lets you quickly create online, 3D, multiplayer games or art that you can play and share with your friends or other members. You can also play other member’s games, vote, add comments, chat, and link to your games. Members can compete in weekly game-building and racing contests.
Phrogram (designed for very young learners to make computer games)
Jurtle (Java for Beginning Programmers)
SNAP, a project of UC Berkley, is an attempt to extend the brilliant accessibility of Scratch to somewhat older users—in particular, non-CS-major computer science students—without becoming inaccessible to its original audience.
Kodu from Microsoft lets kids create games on the PC and XBox via a simple visual programming language. Anyone can use Kodu to make a game, young children as well as adults with no design or programming skills. The Kodu classroom kit is a set of lesson plans and activities for educators, after-school instructors, parents, peer mentors and administrators.
List of Open-Source Video Games – This is a selected list of open-source video games. Open Source Video Games are games assembled from and are themselves open source software, including public domain games with published source code. This list includes games in which the game engine is open-source but the game content (media and levels, for example) may be under a different license.
Game-icons.net is an online repository providing hundreds of free icons. They are provided under the terms of the CC-BY 3.0.
OpenGameArt.org has 2D art, 3D art, music, sound effects, textures,and 700+ RPG icons licensed under CC-BY 3.0.
The FreeGameDevWiki is a growing game development resource for free, open source game artists, designers, managers, programmers, helpers and advocates.
Music from Games – game music, game soundtracks, melodies from games, music from computer games.
GovGrid is a site offering information and resources to government agencies interested in working within a virtual environment. OpenSim Resources are curated here:
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