Burbank school officials approve textbook that will instruct students on building video games

Students at John Burroughs High School will soon learn how to create and develop their own video games for computers and smartphone apps using a new textbook.

The textbook is “Learn Mobile Game Development in One Day Using GameSalad” by Jamie Cross, a Pennsylvania-based computer programmer, and it received approval Thursday night from the Burbank Unified school board.

Thirty-six copies will be purchased at $36.99 each for a total of roughly $1,500, according to a staff report.

Students enrolled in the introductory computer course called Digital Applications will use the textbook as supplemental material to the GameSalad software, a coding program that uses a “drag-and-drop platform” to teach the fundamentals of computer science.

The material is geared toward students who lack prior game-development experience. Students will go through 35 exercises and will learn what characteristics make video games successful.

In addition, students will use Adobe’s Creative Cloud and Photoshop CS6 to create game scenes and animations. At the end, students will have acquired skills to create four smartphone game apps that can be published to Apple’s App Store.

During a previous meeting, John Paramo, director of secondary education for Burbank Unified, said the computer course was originally offered to help students learn about the Microsoft Office Suite but students are now learning about those programs much earlier.

Now, with a game-development component added to its curriculum, Paramo said that it is helping to revive the course.

During the item’s first reading last month, board member Armond Aghakhanian suggested staff look into creating a competition where nearby studios could critique student’s work.


Twitter: @vegapriscella

An earlier version of this story stated John Paramo is the director of secondary education for Glendale Unified. He is the director of secondary education for Burbank Unified.
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