Monday, June 10, 2013 - 08:46

As schools everywhere try to change, improve or create STEM / technology projects, lessons or full curriculum cost is often cited as a major obstacle. At face value it would seem common sense that integrating technology into a classroom must be costly. Well, not exactly. Or even better said not at all! FREE is still a pretty good price.

Fact is there are terrific resources available to schools to build STEM, CTE or tech-ed courses around that can result in SAVING MONEY! Let’s use our GAME:IT & GAME:IT Jr. course as examples. After careful we research we settled on developing these courses around the free game maker software – Game Maker 8.1 lite version. There were many factors that went into choosing that free game maker version and right at the top was “free.”

We were then able to design 18 weeks curriculum consisting of, engineering, math, science, design concepts and actual hands on real game projects all on that free game maker platform. The benefits are obvious and maybe not so obvious. Free game maker allowed us to develop a full semester length course that truly encompasses all facets of STEM, is aligned with all applicable national and state CTE / STEM standards and contains absolutely everything need to teach the course all for only $499 per school with zero restrictions on the student usage. More the merrier. How cost effective is that? A full semester STEM that costs $499 total, period, the end? In a world of so called cost effective $89, $119, $129 eTexts and eBooks don’t go too far at $499. We got an entire course done and available to potentially every student you have in your school for that.

Free game maker also allows you students to download the platform at home and be able to work on projects all the time. So students can easily keep up or better yet get ahead and really utilize what they learning at home. What a tremendous benefit to teachers and students to easily have a student be able work on a STEM / CTE / technology at home with no worries of costs. It is a big reason why our Got Game contest continues to grow by about 50% each semester – we had over 400 submissions come in for recent May 31 deadline! Free game maker is a huge reason why.

This is just one example of how free technology is available for schools to use. There is no reason that STEM / CTE / tech-ed courses need to be expensive or cost-prohibitive. In fact at STEM Fuse we make sure of the opposite. Free game maker, free HIT platforms, Micorsoft’s XNA and Visual Studio, Google’s Android platform are all available. Terrific , engaging, highly rigorous and cost effective courses can be created allowing schools to afford to offer world-class up to date technology to their students.

Embrace the power of free. There are many, many resources available– but do me a favor and start with STEM Fuse. We have had such success with our courses developed using free game maker that we now offer our GAME:IT high school course for… FREE!

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Carter