Is Game Design the Future of STEM Education?

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One of the greatest challenges teachers face today is the effective use of technology in the classroom...and, of course, keeping students interested in largely text book-based subjects, such as math and science, when they're surrounded by a gadget-filled world. In Miami-Dade County, the public school district has decided to take a new approach to improving grades and increasing interest in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) subjects by launching the iTech Academy - a magnet school that teaches game design to high school students.

While it's common for parents to worry about their children going to a school focused on game design - after all 97% of 12 to 17-year olds regularly play video games for fun (Pew Research, 2008) - game design actually offers a creative, rewarding, and emotive approach to STEM education.

In order to design a game, students must grasp abstract mathematical and scientific concepts. But unlike text book-based learning, students can see these principles in action once they incorporate them into a game. Students who learn game design must also learn programming, database design, and visual and audio production techniques.

Principal Anna Rodriquez at Miami Springs Senior High has high hopes for iTech Academy, and she can even see her students one day learning to build holograms.

What do you think - is game design the key to reinvigorating STEM education?

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