Free Programming Environments
“Scratch is a new programming language out of MIT that makes it easy to create your own interactive stories, animations, games, music, and art -- and share your creations on the web.”
“Scratch is designed to help young people (ages 8 and up) develop 21st century learning skills. As they create Scratch projects, young people learn important mathematical and computational ideas, while also gaining a deeper understanding of the process of design” http://scratch.mit.edu/about
General Information can be found at- http://www.yoyogames.com/make
GM download page can be found at http://www.yoyogames.com/gamemaker/ (take down Game Maker 7.0) – When you run the game you can upgrade to the full version if you like.
This book is written by the creators of Game Maker and I highly recommend it. The book comes with a disk of all the resources that you’ll need to complete the games along with a copy of Game Maker.
The Game Makers Apprentice: Game Development for Beginners (Technology in Action) by Jacob Habgood and Mark Overmars
It can be purchased from Amazon at: http://www.amazon.com/Game-Makers-Apprentice-Development-Technology/dp/1590596153/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1206636520&sr=1-1
Excellent tutorials can be downloaded for free from:
Don’t forget to check out the wiki. It has information on teaching materials, books on game design and some information on the author.