Eric Schmidt, the Chairman of Google, recently highlighted the need for learners to be embedded in contexts where they are the creators of digital materials and the writers of the web. In his MacTaggart Lecture at the Edinburgh International Television Festival in August 2012 he argued that the learner experience with computer science in school as one that lacked challenge, demand and appeal and said, “Your IT curriculum focuses on teaching how to use software, but gives no insight in to how its made. That is just throwing away your great computing heritage.”
As you will know, Curriculum for Excellence has in some way made provision to address this concern by the fact that from Second Level onwards in the Technologies outcomes it is an expectation that learners will learn to a range of skills to enable them build their own computer games.
In order to help address this the Education Scotland Learning Catalogue will regularly feature contexts where the skills and understanding of computer game design can be explored and extended. Through the Consolarium Code Club we will endeavour to embed a culture of creation and not just consumption of digital materials and games design is one area that we intend to have a major focus on.
Our initial Introduction to Scratch 2.0 learning opportunity will encourage learners to join a pupil led and pupil managed learning community in Glow where they can gradually build the skills necessary to make a computer game using Scratch 2.0. They will be actively encouraged to access the community at school and at home (where access permits). They will be encouraged to become an active participant in the community and to ask questions when necessary, respond to the weekly challenges and upload their creations to the community. Learning experiences will focus on developing their skills and confidence in creating the digital resources such as images, animations and sounds and to learn to control how these behave by using code. Our planning document will help you see what we are planning for learners.
It may be worth noting that there will be a next steps Scratch 2.0 course in the term after the October holidays that will build on the skill sets and understanding established in the this learning experience.
Articles of interest
Colleagues may find this further reading about the worth and value and importance of teaching game design in school of use:
Scratch: Programming for all Mitch Resnick
Reviving Papert’s Dream Mitch Resnick
Hope Livingstone Review NESTA