Making Games with Missionmaker
I'm in Dundee today at the Consolarium, the Scottish Centre for Gaming in Education, to find out more about Missionmaker from Immersive Education. Immersive Man, Tim Price-Water, lets us know that this game-making app will be available in about 10 months as a commercial product but interestingly enough this has been borne out of a research project funded by Intel at Oxford University. Kar2ouche is one product from them you might know, to help kids make multimedia 3D 'comics' in French or Spanish. The same high end graphics and play elements are in evidence in Missionmaker and in MediaStage, which featured at the recent TeachMeet06 and which David's covered in his current Booruch podcast.
When we talk about social media we often talk about how kids get it and digital immigrants don't. The same is true of these 3D worlds and game-making ventures. So Immersive's aims are more than most companies stretch to - they want teachers, too, to see that these fun 'games' are highly educational. They don't want teachers to think that gaming is just another flash in the pan and use the messages in Prensky and Johnson: the plot lines in today's games, the interactions that kids enter into with modern games are so much more complex than the plots of 1970s TV like Starsky and Hutch. Why, then, is there educational value questioned so much?
So is game-making just a flash in the pan? Certainly not. Just think about the aims of the ZX Spectrum and the BBC Micro - they were educational tools based around games for learning. Oh, it beings back those Saturday afternoons in rainy Dunoon doing all those 48k programmes...