When we began our search to find the perfect curriculum for our Entertainment Technology Academy, we had the following goals in mind:
- to bring innovation to West Allegheny
- to provide opportunities that will make students want to learn
- to inspire students to stay in school
- to help students make connections between what they do in school and opportunities in the workplace
- to help prepare our students for the careers of tomorrow
After a thorough investigation, we decided Zulama was the perfect fit. Zulama made it easy to create our very own Entertainment Technology Academy. Their courses are completely customizable, so our teachers are able to bring their own expertise into the program. The program “hooks” students by focusing on games, but it is project-based and meets Common Core standards. That means rigorous educational standards are being met (and exceeded), but in a way that engages our students in “hot” topic areas using innovative instructional practices.
Along with Zulama’s CEO Nikki Navta and the rest of Zulama’s team, we built a program that is perfect for our school. During the fall semester of 2013, we implemented Evolution of Games, in which students explore games from ancient cultures to present day. They learn the basics of game design and get a peek into the rest of the courses in the program.
Students are now enrolled in another course called Game Design. This course gives students hands on experience in game theory, development, modding, prototyping, and playtesting.
Over the next few years, our plan is to implement more courses as student demand increases and teaching staff becomes trained, including:
- Evolution of Games
- Game Design
- Mobile Game Design
- 3D Modeling
- GameMaker Programming I
- GameMaker Programming II
- Unity 3D Programming
- Game Production and Marketing