Creating Games with XNA® Game Studio and C#

New High School Computer Science Course

Creating Games with XNA® Game Studio and C#


Fall 2009

Recruit students to your schools’ computer science classes by adding a new game development course!

Students will develop computer science knowledge and skills by learning how to program in C# using the Microsoft® XNA Game framework and Visual Studio® platform to create games.

XNAGame Studio 3.0 enables hobbyists, academics, and independent developers to create video games for Microsoft Windows®, the Microsoft Zune® digital media player, and Xbox 360.®

Visual Studio is a professional development environment that has been taught in HS CS classes for years.

Although students learn how to create games, this curriculum unit is “serious” computer science. It covers most of the fundamental concepts that high school students need to know in order to succeed in introductory college-level computer science courses. The topics that are explored in this course are applicable to the wider scheme of computer science and interactive media studies.

Successful Teaching Scenario: Grade level: High School

Length of study: one semester or more (This course can easily be extended into a year-long course by adding more advanced topics or longer, team-based projects.)

Pre-requisites: Students need prior programming experience to succeed in this course.

  • Some experience working in a software development environment such as Visual Studio and languages such as Visual Basic, C# or Java.

  • Basic computer science or programming knowledge and experience including the use of variables, control structures, and object-oriented programming.

Teacher preparation should include knowledge of object oriented languages and expertise in teaching computer science at the high school level. This course will be valuable as a second semester or year-long course in a computer science program or to replace the Advanced Placement Computer Science AB course.

The free course materials include an e-textbook, timeline, suggested activities, presentations, project ideas and teaching notes. Educators participating in the pilot will receive a free, hard-copy XNA textbook.

Educators will be thrilled with the depth and breadth of the teaching resources provided.”

~ Dr. S. E. Gunn, Ph. D., Professor of Learning & Technology

The teacher who has been looking for a hook to keep students in computer science needn't look any further! Absolutely awesome materials … easy to follow, easy to teach, and easy to extend.”

~ Dave Jacobus, Retired Computer Science Teacher/Software Developer

If you would like to sign up to pilot this course or would like additional information, please contact:

Pat Phillips at: v-paphil (at)


Comments (5)

  1. Evelyn Rothman says:

    I am a high school Computer Science teacher, and I have been talking to my supervisor about such a course for next year.

    The computers in my classroom are over 6 years old, so we are exploring the options for replacing them.  Our Network Administrator got a quote from Dell in the neighborhood of $2,000 per computer.  With 20 computers, that’s quite expensive.  He mentioned an alternative: a XEN desktop using the Dell R710 server.    Is this an option?

    Evelyn Rothman

    Arthur L. Johnson High School

    Clark, NJ

  2. AlfredTh says:

    Well I’m not an expert on pricing but $2k per system for a classroom desktop is MUCH higher than what I see on Dell’s website so those numbers seem more like pricing for a server or the like. So some shopping around would seem advisable.

    XEN desktops work for some applications but I don’t know enough about performance under the sort of load that a programming related class would place on the server to recommend that option.

  3. Garth says:


    Try CDI computers (Google it).  They sell refub Dells at about half price.  I have no problem with Visual Studio on a $200 computer with 2GB of RAM (some have 1 GB and no problems).  For the budget limited it is the only way to do.  If you have questions contact me at

  4. Garth says:

    It would be nice if someone would teach the prerequisite courses "How to teach HS CS", "OOP for HS CS teachers" and "Basic computer science or programming knowledge and experience including the use of variables, control structures, and object-oriented programming for HS CS teachers".  They are definitely not taught in the summer, for that matter these are not taught in any teacher ed program at any college in the northwest.  This pesky fulltime teaching and computer tech job keeps me from trying to learn on my own.  I would really jump on a pilot course like that.  If fact I could probably get 10 other Montana CS teachers signed up in a heartbeat.  The state of HS CS teacher education up here is beyond abysmal, it is like non-existant.

  5. I am proposing that my school offer this course as a 1/2 year elective.  I hope to start in the Spring term.  

    The getting started info in the course material  states:  "This is a programming course for students with no prior programming experience."   The info above lists pre requesites.  I would like to offer this to studentes interest in CS.  Is this an appropriate?

    Sheila Arakelian

    Morris County School of Technology

    Denville, NJ

Skip to main content