Salisbury High project prepares students for the future of video game design with help from Catawba College


SALISBURY, NC (WBTV) – Salisbury High School (SHS) is using video games, augmented reality (AR), and virtual reality (VR) in English Language Arts (ELA) classes with help from the Catawba Middle School.

SHS students were tasked with creating their own video games, giving them hands-on experience in creating and developing setting, characters, and plot. Then they worked in groups to select the best ideas and created the cover art, sales pitch video, game trailer, storyboard, and original artwork for their proposed games.

Using AR, students shared their projects with the rest of the school, and those students voted for their favorite projects. On the final day of the project, students traveled through several stations to experience the future of game design by participating in a virtual reality experience.

The project has been implemented in several classrooms that also serve exceptional students (those with Individual Education Plans) and English language learners. In addition to focusing on academic and technological skills, it also emphasized interpersonal skills such as creativity, leadership, teamwork, courtesy, work ethic, communication and problems solving.

“This activity was a way to engage students by appealing to their interests and allowing them to work in cooperative groups to showcase their unique skills, experiences and intelligence,” said Eden Sloop, SHS Educational Technology Facilitator. .

Staff members and fellow students were blown away by the end results. “When you don’t put kids in a box, their minds go crazy,” said SHS teacher Kelly Goodman. Sloop added that they hope this project can spark interest that will lead to future careers for their students. “Because we are training them for jobs that don’t yet exist, we have to be open-minded and let them create because they will create the jobs of tomorrow,” she said.

Catawba College has joined SHS to open doors for students to do just that. The teams that worked on the winning projects won a trip to Catawba College for an enhanced learning experience in the Greg and Missie Alcorn Digital Learning Lab. Librarians Earl Givens and Amanda Bosch, technology and learning systems specialist Jeff Bostian, and library instructional technologist Zach Trivett guided them through hands-on opportunities with state-of-the-art equipment.

Students alternated between stations where professors provided more in-depth experience with VR technology and worked with the lab’s other cutting-edge technologies. The students also toured the college campus and library.

“We enjoyed hosting SHS students in Alcorn’s digital learning lab and working with design thinking students as they explored 3D printing, laser engraver design, and explored virtual worlds at using the Quest 2 headsets,” Bosch said. “We hope this experience inspires them to continue solving problems with a design mindset and creative thinking strategies. We look forward to continuing to partner with local K-12 teachers so that more students in our community can have this type of unique experience.

SHS’s partnership with Catawba College has been going on for years. This project continues a collaboration that began during the 2018-2019 school year. The original project included a “Shark Tank” style sales pitch with Catawba faculty.

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