I wrote the previous blog post before I’d seen BBC Click so I thought it I’d blog after I’ve seen it too. I think that Peter Price (@peprice) has done an amazing job and I am very pleased with how it has come out.
The whole story is about the problem facing the gaming and programming industry. Years ago, children could learn how to program a machine like the BBC micro or their spectrum at home or in school but now computers are much more complex and coding isn’t taught in the classroom anymore. Industry legends David Braben (the man behind Elite) and Ian Livingstone (maker of Tomb Raider) give their opinions. Then it shows us.
The video talks about us ‘ripping up the curriculum’ and ‘leading a revolution’, now I know many other schools are doing similar things to us, but it’s great to hear this. I think game design is very important in the classroom. It develops thinking skills, creativity and problem solving. I want my children to pick up some software like 2Do It Yourself, try things out and be able to succeed in seconds but then when they want to make it REALLY cool, they need to learn a bit more. And then this might go horribly wrong and they break it. But then they have to learn how to fix it too. Coding is very hard to teach in the primary school. I believe that children (and teachers) want things instantly and if it is too hard they’ll give up. 2DIY offers a simple introduction to coding e.g. change this number and he jumps higher. What happens if you make it a really big number? Then when you want more, you can go to the 2diyarchive and find some great coding examples on there to copy/paste into your game.
There is also a bit on the video about Kodu and how we have started to use that as well. Now, our use of Kodu has been very limited. The way I started it was to show 2 children at a lunchbreak and ask them to play with it and see what they think. Within 3 days I have 10 children ask if they could also stay in and play and at least 5 more tell me they’d downloaded it at home. They now know much more about it than I do, but who cares? Why not let them lead the learning?
I love it when my children are shown swapping netbooks to play each others games, this happens all of the time and totally justifies the purchase of netbooks in our school.
Overall I am very pleased with the video and I think our children look fantastic on it. If you need any help or advice on gaming in the classroom, I am not an expert but I can certainly point you towards some people that might be.