For a few months now I've been running Kodudes projects to support literacy and ICT skills and engage pupils in narrative-focused projects based. These projects had been successful in the sense of the learning and enjoyment. In fact, the Kodudes projects had caused a bit of a stir in the school – the Write Buzz had spread way beyond the small community of pupils that I had the pleasure the work with. It was with this in mind that I decided to offer an Introduction to Games Making out of school in the summer holidays to pupils that had not yet been participants in the Kodudes projects.
The Games Making day was offered to a small number of pupils aged 8 and 9. It was deliberately kept to a small number of pupils as these pupils had never experienced Kodu so a small teacher to pupil ratio was desired.
So, the day began with 5 very keen but slightly nervous Kodu debutants. To help allay worries and scaffold effective progress, we worked to a model that saw short focused tuition followed by 20minute sessions of consolidation and application of new skills.
The group were amazed at their progress as they worked through a skills progression that basically covered:
Developing competence in some of these basic functions lifted the pupils’ spirits and beliefs. They were now game makers!
We then moved onto some of the other coding skills needed to build a simple race type game.
To round off what was a very productive day – the children all worked so hard – the children added an opponent in the form of a computer-controlled character. This opponent needed some AI in order to function as a threat or challenger. The coding skills covered included:
One of the most satisfying parts of the session was when the children starting discussing game play and how to make a game exciting – too was fun at first but then quickly got boring; too hard and the game was frustrating and de-motivating. As a result, the children started tweaking the balance of the game through:
Oh, and last but not least, the pupils wrote instructions for how to play their games – a nice literacy focused task in itself.
It’s remarkable to think that this was all achieved in a day. OK, the children all left with brain ache (this was a day of hard work and hard thinking) but they also left with a massive sense of achievement and self-satisfaction.