Educational computer games and websites are great, but sometimes it would be nice to alter a game for your students’ specific needs. Using Popfly a web-based tool from Microsoft you can make a mashup of games or websites to find your needs. The mashup interface on Popfly is a simple drag and drop system.
Popfly also has, in alpha stage, a game creation tool that does not require users to know any type of code. Popfly’s game creator is designed for those of us who love simple drag and drop interface. But, if you are into coding, you can create your own elements to add to your games.
Popfly is web-based and operates completely inside your browser, but you do need to download and install the Silverlight browser extension. The installation is quick and easy and works with most web-browsers. The game creator is still in alpha stage and I did run into a couple of glitches with one character element not working like I expected, but overall it looks like it’s a very good product. Microsoft has created a Popfly wiki for users to find and share information about the game creator.
Here’s a video demonstration of the mash-up aspects of Popfly.
Applications for Education
Popfly is a good tool for making games or web pages to meet the specific needs of your students. The games created with Popfly can be embedded into a web page or used directly on the Popfly website.
A fun assignment for students to do with Popfly would be to create a game of their own to reflect their knowledge of a subject or concept. No one knows computer games better than students so have the students play, test, and review each others’ games.