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Bringing Game Design-Based Computer Science Education to Your District

[Participate and share : Poster]

Monday, June 27, 11:00 am–1:00 pm
CCC Lobby D, Table 36

favoritesMark Shouldice  
Scalable game design is a curriculum supported by the National Science Foundation and tested through the largest study in middle school computer science education in the U.S. The poster describes how it was introduced at a district level to Auroa Public schools, one of the nation's most diverse school districts.

Skill level: Beginner
Attendee devices: Devices useful
Attendee device specification: Laptop: Chromebook, PC, Mac
Participant accounts, software and other materials: Attendees can try the software at
Focus: Digital age teaching & learning
Topic: Programming and robotics
Grade level: PK-12
Subject area: Computer science
ISTE Standards: Students : Critical thinking, problem solving and decision making
Students : Creativity and innovation
Administrators : Systemic improvement
Additional detail: Student presentation, ISTE author presentation

Digital tote resources

Description: Beyond Minecraft Facilitating Computational Thinking through Modeling and Progra
Description: Making Programming Accessible and Exciting
Description: The overview paper of Scalable Game Design
Description: AgentCubes online lesson plans: games: Frogger, Pac-Man and STEM simulations

Proposal summary

Purpose & objective

Aurora Public Schools (APS) is Colorado's 3rd largest and one of the nations most diverse school districts. Over the last eight years APS has gradually adopted the Scalable Game Design curriculum to teach computational thinking in middle and high schools. This poster will present the strategy employed, showcase games and simulations built and provide evaluation data.

Specifically, participants will:

- learn about the four core components of the Scalable Game Design strategy and how they align with the ISTE NETS framework
- see examples of games and simulations built by students and presented by students (Aurora is right next to Denver)
- learn about the approach employed by APS to diffuse the game design approach to multiple schools
- get to see how much support is needed to sustain and grow computer science education systemically
- see a process to transfer computational thinking competencies acquired through game design leveraged in the context of making STEM simulations.


The presentation will include:

- Diagrams explaining the four core components of the Scalable Game Design strategy including data providing evidence of efficacy.

- The definition of a district approach to sustain and grow game design activities.

- Presentations by students of their game and simulation projects.

- An opportunity to talk to an APS district person.

Supporting research

These Aurora Public Schools (APS) videos capture the approach employed to systemically introduce Scalable Game Design in the district:


more about Scalable Game Design:

Scalable Game Design including computational thinking tools employed (AgentSheets/AgentCubes) has been supported with ~$20M by the National Science Foundation, Google, the National Institutes of Health and many other agencies in the US, Brazil, Switzerland and Mexico.

Project site with references:

Evidence of relevance:

- academic publications, e.g., Repenning, A., Webb, D. C., Koh, K. H., Nickerson H., Miller, S. B., Brand, C., et al., "Scalable Game Design: A Strategy to Bring Systemic Computer Science Education to Schools through Game Design and Simulation Creation," Transactions on Computing Education (TOCE), vol. 15, pp. 1-31, 2015. (more publications:

- popular press, e.g., WIRED:

- videos, e.g., high production video made by Google as part of the 2015 Google RISE program: (more videos:

- TV, e.g. FOX31:

AgentSheets research showcased in government reports, e.g., Fostering Learning in the Networked World: The Cyberlearning Opportunity and Challenge. A 21st Century Agenda for the National Science Foundation, June 2008.



favorites Mark Shouldice

Currently, Mark Shouldice serves as the technology coordinator and computer teacher at Mrachek Middle School in Aurora, CO. He and has taught for twenty five years in his home state working to integrate technology in the Denver Public Schools and the Aurora Public Schools. Twenty four years of his experience has been spent in the middle school environment and an enjoyable year at the elementary level. As well, Mark has served in the Scalable Game Design initiative for eight years. He has led the advancement of Scalable Game Design in Aurora and is a member of the CT4TC Advisory Board.