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Eric Gallery Manuel Mendez David A. Turner Arturo I Concepcion. Development of a Video Game Programming Course at Cajon High School. What?.

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Eric gallery manuel mendez david a turner arturo i concepcion

Eric Gallery

Manuel Mendez

David A. Turner

Arturo I Concepcion

Development of a Video Game Programming Courseat Cajon High School


  • As part of a National Science Foundation grant titled "Revitalizing Computing Education through Community-Based Video Game Development Projects," CSUSB student Manuel Mendez, professors Dr. Concepcion and Dr. Turner, and Cajon high school teacher Eric Gallery develop a course on game programming.


  • The purpose of the course is to help students acquire the knowledge and skills identified within the academic and technical standards that comprise the Programming and Systems Development pathway of the California State Career Technical Education standards.


  •  It does this by engaging high school students in computational thinking needed to construct video games.

The tool
The Tool

  • Game Maker is an integrated development environment (IDE) for Windows or Mac.

Why game maker
Why Game Maker?

  • Game Maker allows users to easily develop computer games without the requirement of prior computer programming experience by using a graphic user interface (GUI), while allowing advanced users to create complex applications with its built-in scripting language.

Starting off
Starting Off

  • We begin by giving the high school students lesson plans on topics such as tracing through a program or simple statements or loops. Lessons such as these will jump start computational thinking.

Programming concepts
Programming Concepts

  • We introduce programming concepts like if-then statements, for loops, variables, and algorithms by putting them into everyday situations like receiving a text message or tying your shoes.

If statement
if statement

  • Text received;

  • If(inClass=false) //You are not in class.

  • {

  • Read text message;

  • If( important=true) //Check to see if it is important.

  • {

  • Reply to text; //if it is important reply or take action.

  • }

  • Else if( wantToTextBack = true) //if it is not important check to see if you want to reply.

  • {

  • Reply to text; //if so, reply to text.

  • }

  • Else //if not, ignore text message.

  • {

  • Ignore text message;

  • }

  • }

  • Else //if you are in class.

  • {

  • Wait for class to end to read text;

  • }


  • We give them examples and hands on activities to reinforce the lesson plans


  • Then we give them an assignment similar to the example where they must recreate what they have learned with their own tweaks.


  • They are given a test at the end of this process as a final check to see how much they have learned.


  • Towards the midpoint of the course the students will be taken a step further into programming by changing their Game Maker GUI code into scripting code.

Making a game
Making a Game

  • For finals in this course, the students will create a playable video game to present to the class.

Down the road
Down the Road

  • By the end of this course students will have improved their computational thinking skills and have a general idea of what is computer science.