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With the IT crisis reaching alarming levels, it is more important than ever to attract K-12 students to computer science. 3D game development can be an enticing way to achieve that, but building 3D games is far from trivial. Students need to achieve a degree of 3D fluency in modeling, animation and programming to be able to create compelling 3D content. The combination of innovative end-user development tools and standards-based curriculum promoting IT fluency by shifting the pedagogical focus from programming to design, can address motivational aspects without sacrificing principled educational goals. The AgentCubes 3D game-authoring environment raises the ceiling of end-user development without raising the threshold. Our formal user study shows that with Incremental 3D, the gradual approach to transition from 2D to 3D authoring, middle school students can build sophisticated 3D games including 3D models, animations and programming.
Date of Conference: 15-19 Sept. 2008