Learning how to build an app or make a video game are interest areas for many students and as such I am always on the hunt for technology solutions that enable students to achieve these goals. Previously I have used Sploder and GameStar Mechanic for game making, used AppMakr and iBuild App to make apps and even have used PowerPoint to make virtual board games. There are so many great, easy to use tools available online. The latest one that I have been using with my students is TouchDevelop. TouchDevelop is a Microsoft Research website that allows you to build apps and games for iPad, Andriod, PC, Mac and Windows phone. Launching from the website is the web app which works on any device and it is completely free to use.
Students can learn how to make games such as Flappy bird or Mario Bros by following step by step tutorials. These step by step tutorials are easy to follow and expose students to the coding required by the video games and apps that they know and love. Students can also add their own flair to these games and change the sprites or background to suit their own tastes or interests. Once students become more comfortable with their coding, they can build original games or apps from scratch. The great thing about web tools like TouchDevelop is that it puts the keys of creativity and learning in the hands of the learner and there is no better way to learn than by doing.