Penn High School students use gamification to solve real-world STEM challenges.
Annually, Microsoft hosts America’s innovative educators at its Microsoft Partners in Learning US Forum. The US Forum is an opportunity for educators to showcase and exchange their best practices in teaching and learning. This competition and collaboration of educators provides a celebration of teachers and teaching. The US Forum winners will have the opportunity to represent the United States at Global Forum in Greece later this year.
Allow me to introduce the world to Rodrigo Anadon.
Rodrigo Anadon is a teacher at Penn High School (Mishawaka, IN). Mr. Anadon teaches Computer Science in the Management and Business Academy of Penn High School. Anadon teaches his students about STEM through gaming. The difference in Anadon’s approach is that the students develop the games to solve STEM challenges.
The video game industry is one of the most cross-disciplinary fields in the world. The arts, music, technical arts, history, and composition all come into play in video game production. Anadon brings this same approach of cross-disciplinary collaboration to the student-led teams for their projects. Microsoft develops and supports a variety of programming languages for XNA game developers. For Anadon’s STEM Gaming Challenge, students can use the XNA Framework language that works best for their project. Each student takes a different leadership role on their respective teams–a project leader, programmer, digital artist, and audio engineer. This provides interdependency and individual accountability to successfully complete the assignment.
Penn High School students work across a variety of technologies over the course of the project to communicate, collaborate, and synchronize their work. The game development assignment, the student-defined STEM problem, and the journey through collaboration are all apart of the complex rubric for measuring outcomes, participation, and deliverables. As students get ready for life beyond high school, this course is a great example of the type of work that students will find common in the next-generation workplace of 2012 and beyond.
I am looking forward to celebrating the work of Anadon’s approach to produce a new generation of critical thinkers and creative problem solvers at the U.S. Forum. The bar for excellence in teaching continues to rise in our schools.
XNA Developer Center on Microsoft.com
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