Judy Robertson from Heriot-Watt University gave a CPD session on Friday. I always like going to HW for meetings. There are ducks and swans there and I get to have lunch with my husband :-)
Here are the notes I made during the session.
Mapping CfE to game making:
Determination to reach high standards - often you will find yourself limiting children's ambitions to achievable targets. Reworking ideas is all part of the creative process.
The are high rewards for low effort at the beginning, but game making isn't simplistic, it stretches pupils skills and creativity.
Resilience is necessary because pupils will have to work and think about their aims in order to get the programming to do what they what.
Peer learning and sharing goes on with pupils as well as teachers collaboration.
CfE Technology Objectives:
TCH2-09a (P7) and TCH3-09a (S1-3)
P7 is just designing, S1-3 is design and implement.
Now not just games but "game, animation or other aplication" which is good.
CfE English Language principles:
"a text is the medium through which ideas, experiences, opinions and information can be communicated"
including "films, games and TV programmes".
We are now all teachers of literacy
As an example of literacy in programming, Judy said her husband once wrote a Prolog poem for her.
Free (big plus point!) and developed by MIT. Kids are learning programing in a really nice way but don't realise. Good teaching resources including 'Scratchcards'. Games can be shared online. It is great for kids to be able to share with kids outside of Scotland. Can change the language easily (eg into Polish)
Better for older kids. Maybe too difficult for S2.
Free download at yoyogames.com
Excellent textbook and tutorials
Crayon Physics and Phun
Phun free, Crayon $20. Cross between sketchpads and physics simulations. You can either design levels or play them. OK for a quick lesson on games design but not so good for teaching programing.
Free. LTS apparently using OpenSim and integrating it into GLOW.
Based at HW Uni, supported by EPSRC.
Aims to study the creative process learners go through when making their own computer games.
User-centred design is where users are frequently consulted when developing. Learner-centred design is where teachers and learners are an important part of the development process.
Worked with schools in Edinburgh, Dundee and East Lothian as well as holiday workshops (which are good because it lets kids get absorbed in the process without the bell ringing.
Based on Neverwinter Nights 2 but with free plugins with added educational tools and trickier parts of software removed. Free plugins at www.adventureauthor.org
3D environment which looks good, which is important for motivation.
Fridge Magnets tool is a colour coded design tool.
Conversation Writer tool has a tree branching structure displayed like a play scripts. Conditions possible, for example the first time you meet Cedric Bear he'll tell you a quest. Next time you meet him he'll say something different (depending on whether you've solved the quest)
Comments Card tool has been very successful as a discussion on evaluating the game.
My Tasks tool is a check list tool
Campie Primary School teacher has a blog about the experience. (I missed the link for this though)
We then got a demonstration of how to use Adventure Author and we were then able to try it out ourselves.
Another option suggested was RPG Maker 3000 which is free and doesn't need as powerful graphics card.
There are opportunities for using NWN2 in more depths. The programming is hidden by Adventure Author but can be shown to advanced students.
Suggestions of how to approach teaching Adventure Author:
Let kids "explore the sweety shop until they get sick"! The pupils will learn from just exploring.
Machinima movies are also possible using screen capture.
Judith at St. Augustine's described the difficulties of using this with classes - six weeks of a 50 minute lesson a week can make pupils very frustrated.
Heriot Watt are looking for teachers and schools to be involved in their Making Games In Schools project. The first training session will possibly be in September then a second cohort in November. The training is for 2.5 days at HW. They are ideally looking for two teachers per school, although this would be best to be different subjects. There is a small budget to help with hardware costs.