I have recently had the pleasure of working with Dan Roberts from Saltash Community College in Cornwall. Students at Saltash developed a project and resources of work for primary school teachers to teach pupils how to design their own computer game through creative writing. They would write the story for the game through a series of blog posts.
The main objectives of this were:
- To help develop skills in creativity, self-confidence, critical thinking and new technologies.
- To engage students in learning through the use of games.
- To improve literacy through creating their own games and then using their imagination to creatively narrate the story behind their game.
- To encourage students to read and write through the use of blogging and the engagement in this through feedback from peers and others all over the world by communicating their ideas to a global audience.
I can say that judging by the students reactions, they had a great time and they were able to get more confidence in their writing. They were able to read and write comments on each others blogs and they were excited about other people around the world viewing them.
After viewing all of the sources I invited primary schools from the local area to come to Lodge Park Technology College for summer school. A number of students from schools such as Studfall Junior School, WoodNewton Primary School and Corby Old Village Primary School come together. The great thing about the project was that we had children from the age of 8 upwards coming from these primary school so there was a vast range of abilities.
The first day of the project was spent introducing students to Kodu. Kodu is a free visual programming language made specifically for creating games. It was designed to be accessible for children and enjoyable for anyone. You can find out more about Kodu by click on this link. Students spent most of this day playing around with the terrain and learning how to set up characters and learning how to get them to move around the screen. The students took to it like a duck to water.
Upon completion of this the students all logged into their blogs for their different primary schools and they wrote the story line for their game. They had to think about the characters they had seen when using Kodu so that their stories could match up. You can read these stories made at:
Each day, the students would have between 1-2 hours in the ICT suite writing the next chapter of their story while having time to work on the game. The students even had time to make some instruction leaflets for their games so that people knew how to play them. The students were able to play each others games and assess them and after seeing the comments and seeing the opinions there was an overall winner from Studfall Junior School for the Summer School week. The winner was Natalie Graham who is in year 6 at Studfall Junior School.
Natalie Produced a game where the fish would collect coins under the water. She figured out how to use the correct characters and was one of the students to include “Game Over” and “Winner” based on points. You can see this on her blog along with other students from studfall – http://studfallkodu.wordpress.com
Having worked with these primary school students I honestly saw how much of an impact blogging had on them. Students were more eager to write creatively and did not see writing as a chore. Working in secondary, students sometimes see the opportunity of writing as a boring, but when the students knew that their parents could access these websites, they were overjoyed and they come up with some really good ideas. You can see these for yourself. I look forward to having future opportunities with working with the students at Saltash Community College. They clearly took time to develop this scheme of work and I would like to thank them as the students had a brilliant time, which you will see from all the pictures below. If you would like to find out more information about this great project then please use the sources below:
The last picture was made using Autocollage, you can get access to this tool as well as many other free innovative tools by Microsoft by joining the Uk Partners In Learning Network. Click here to join, or sign in by using your Windows Live ID.