On February 19, twenty participants gathered at Touro’s Graduate School of Technology (GST) to learn how to create full-featured, interactive games, with the GameSalad Creator software. The Winter Gaming Institute attracted teachers from New York City public schools, some of whom were GST alumni or current students.
The high-tech offering is a way for teachers to keep pace in an era where children are exposed to technology from an early age. Jay Lefkowitz, Technology Leadership Program coordinator says, “We hope to provide these teachers with the skills necessary to incorporate educational game design into their curriculum. These tools can be powerful motivators for their students while enhancing classroom instruction by integrating technology.”
Taught by Irina Berman, instructional technology specialist at GST, the Gaming Institute has become a semiannual event—with a similar one-day course taught in the summer. It offers hands-on, practice-based training to build educational games for use in classrooms.
An alumna of the Instructional Technology Program, Uzma Harris, posted on the GST Facebook exclaiming, "Awesome workshop! Can't wait to share with my students. Hope Touro plans to offer more training sessions to students."
Targeting students of all ages, GameSalad is an example of twenty-first century learning -- participants are able to get step-by-step instruction and create games on a variety of technological platforms, including iOS, Android™, Mac, Windows, and HTML 5. By the day’s end, participants leave with a better understanding of how they can use games to engage their students, using critical and creative thinking skills.
The popular course is a natural extension of the Touro College Graduate School of Technology's mission, as well as its master’s degree in instructional technology. Says Lefkowitz, “We expect the graduates of our Instructional Technology Program to attain the expertise needed to integrate technology into the curriculum and to effectively employ the latest and best methods in their classroom activities.”