This half term we are giving a trial run to some of the game creation apps that are beginning to hit the market. We designed a 4/5 week plan, looking for opportunities for the children to collaborate, experiment and develop their confidence when coding.
I chose a few programs that the teachers and pupils were already familiar with. There are also some great ideas in the Digital Leader Network site.
Thanks to an excellent Code Club, some of the pupils were already familiar with the programme Scratch (and indeed more and more teachers are becoming familiar with this). However in order to ensure that something could be created from all pupils we are also using 2Simple’s 2DIY and a really great app called SketchNation. Other programmes, such as Hopscotch and Game Salad are available, and we’re currently trying them out! My advice – have a play with these programmes first, but importantly learn with the children! Many have great tutorials, and examples you can play with.
The aims of this unit?
An engaging unit which will pull in work from many other subjects to create a genuine project based learning.
The literacy work is easily tied in, character creation, story telling, language of evaluation and opinion are all developed. In fact an excellent unit was planned for comic book creation anyway, so choosing a segment of the story and developing characters is all tied in!
Art and design also planned in easily, you could mimic an art style if you wished, or develop and play with whatever the chldren are interested in. Creating characters on the computer can be explored, and to facilitate this using squared paper to create would help.
Maths can also be used – a really interesting lesson is exploring how scoring works within games, both on their designs and finished games. For example, what does a ‘multiplier’ do? How can they tweak the scoring system in an already finished game within Scratch? Does it affect your enjoyment of the game?
A rough outline of the weekly overview is as follows: ( tap on the image for a larger view)
Week 1 – which involved looking at what a ‘game’ is was very interesting! The children tried various games then collated a table of key descriptions, thoughts and ideas as well as a rating system. They did this groups and we developed some interesting ideas!
I would love to hear any thoughts! And I’ll keep you informed as to how it’s going!