ITEST: Game Design
Through Mentoring and Collaboration

Game Design Through
Mentoring and Collaboration

The Primary Goal of this project is to increase motivation, achievement, and exposure to STEM content of students from urban public schools where the vast majority of students are Black and Hispanic by having them work with scientists and experts to design and build educational games that can be utilized by other students and teachers. This is a partnership between the College of Education and Human Development (CEHD) at George Mason University (GMU) in Fairfax Virginia and Institute of Urban Game Design (IUGD) at McKinley Technology High School (MTHS) in Northeast Washington DC.

This will be accomplished through:

  1. Developing an implementation model that emphasizes collaboration and knowledge sharing between high school, middle school students, and STEM experts and professionals.
  2. Providing access to year-round IT enrichment experiences and opportunities to explore related education and career pathways.
  3. Creating high-quality learning opportunities, and exposure to high education and industry experts.
  4. Reviewing, adapting, and designing STEM curriculum models and content for use in after school, weekend, and/or summer settings that are relevant and applicable in students' everyday lives.

The intellectual merit of this project is that it builds upon and expands activities that have been operating at Washington, DC's new technology high school, providing a framework for mentoring high school students by experts, and middle school students by the high school students. Connecting gaming to STEM content will provide a new modality for learning while having fun.

The broader impact of this project is that it serves urban traditionally underserved students from Washington, DC, an urban center that is making great progress in improving its information technology resources. The online partnerships that will evolve over time will be a model for other distance efforts. Students will become engaged in learning that will transfer to the school day, improving their preparation for the world at large, and especially for the high-tech workforce. This informal project can also have positive impact on the regular school day, as teacher-facilitators see how well their students learn using the game development modality.

Learnings and resources from projects across the U.S. shared nationally to improve policy and practice in increasing the numbers of students pursuing STEM careers. "
A link to the NSF ITEST website. The McKinley Technology High School project website.
ITEST Snapshot A two-page overview of the importance of the ITEST program, project locations, participants and project content.

This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 0737667. ©ITEST at George Mason University, 2007