Game programming_ the Computer Game Design_ Programming

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					   Game programming, the
   Computer Game Design,
Programming, Multimedia and
    Mathematics Cluster

               Tony Forster
 ASISTM Computer Game Design, Programming,
     Multimedia and Mathematics Cluster.
"The mind is not a vessel to be
filled but a fire to be kindled."
       Plutarch (46 - 127)
• The computer games project had its genesis
  around 2002 when a number of teachers
  independently recognised the power of the
  freeware programming language
      2003 Gamemaker projects
•   Woodville High,
•   Newtown High,
•   Newman College,
•   Glenelg School and
•   Haileybury College
• 2004
• 2005
       ASISTM funding 2005
• With the granting of Commonwealth
  Australian School Innovation in Science,
  Technology and Mathematics (ASISTM)
  funding in 2005, the cluster formally came
  into existence. The Cluster is a
  geographically dispersed cluster of 6
  schools and 2 other organisations in 3 states
  of Australia.
          Partner organisations
•   Australian Centre for the Moving Image
•   Cedar College (Greenacres) SA
•   Forster Engineering Services Pty Ltd
•   Glenelg Primary School (Glenelg East)SA
•   Kardinia International College (Geelong)VIC
•   New Town High School (New Town)TAS
•   Westall Secondary College (Clayton South)VIC
•   Woodville High School (Woodville)SA
     Award Winning Teachers
• Margaret Meijers Microsoft Innovative
  Teacher Award, and National Awards for
  Quality Schooling Best National
  Achievement by a Teacher.
• Al Upton is South Australian Computer
  Educator of the Year
• Roland Gesthuizen, ICTEV Computer
  Educator of the Year 1996
•   Web resources
•   Conferences & Professional Development
•   Game Programming Competition
•   Research
             Web resources
   Conferences & Professional
• The inaugural Australian Game
  Programming in Schools Conference was
  held on Friday Sep 9, 2005
• Marc Prensky 28 Feb 2006
• James Gee 20 August 2006
• Numerous PD in Victoria, the Northern
  Territory, South Australia, Victoria and
Game Programming Competition
• ScreenIt 2005 primary
• ScreenIt 2006 primary & secondary
• The cluster has engaged Dr. Bernard
  Holkner of Monash University to produce a
  research report on the work of the cluster.
  The Changes in Educational Needs of

• Google now indexes 24,000,000,000 pages
• today’s children will be adults in a world
  where computers may be 1,000,000,000
  times more powerful than today Prensky (2005)

• less need to teach facts and lower order
• more need for higher order cognitive and
  metacognitive skills
      A pedagogy with pedigree

•   Plutarch
•   Dewey
•   Piaget
•   Vygotsky
•   Papert
•   Crawford
"The mind is not a vessel to be
filled but a fire to be kindled."
       Plutarch (46 - 127)
John Dewey (1933/1998)
           • Education depended
             on action. Knowledge
             and ideas emerged
             from experiences that
             have meaning and
             importance to learners.
John Dewey (1933/1998)
           • Learning occurs
             where students join
             in manipulating
             materials, creating a
             community of
             learners who build
             their knowledge
      Jean Piaget (1896-1980)
• ‘To understand is to discover, or reconstruct
  by rediscovery, and such conditions must be
  complied with if in the future individuals
  are to be formed who are capable of
  production and creativity and not simply
  repetition’ (Piaget, 1973)
Lev Vygotsky (1896-1934)
            • Learning is most
              effective in a zone
              of proximal
              where the child can
              function with just a
              little assistance.
Lev Vygotsky (1896-1934)
           • Learning is a social
             process, teachers
             provide a scaffolding
             process to provide
Constructivism / Constructionism:

       learners construct new ideas or
       concepts based upon their
       current/past knowledge. The learner
       selects and transforms information,
       constructs hypotheses, and makes
       decisions, relying on a cognitive
       structure to do so
• “Literature on school improvement is full of
  exhortations to make the content of
  instruction "relevant." …….. But if one
  does belong to a culture in which video
  games are important, transforming oneself
  from a consumer to a producer of games
  may well be an even more powerful way for
  some children to find importance in what
  they are doing.”
Situating Constructionism By Seymour Papert and Idit Harel, the first chapter in
    Seymour Papert and Idit Harel's book Constructionism (Ablex Publishing
    Corporation, 1991).
• "Games are thus the most
  ancient and time-honored
  vehicle for education. They
  are the original educational
  technology, the natural one,
  having received the seal of
  approval of natural selection.
  We don't see mother lions
  lecturing cubs at the
  chalkboard; we don't see
  senior lions writing their
  memoirs for posterity
The Art of Computer Game Design by Chris Crawford
I believe:

• children learn by processing information through
  their own cognitive structures
• engagement is the key
• tasks have to be relevant and meaningful
• publishing of student work is important
• rote learning of content is less important than
  developing higher order cognitive skills
• learners should engage with the wider community
• it is not just publishing that is important, it is the
  interactive ongoing conversation in a wider
  environment than just the school / educational
                             Kerr Manifesto

1.    Game making is motivating and an excellent introduction to programming
2.    Game making programs now exist which make it easier than it was before
3.    Programming is a HOT (higher order thinking) activity
4.    Programming is hard and perhaps not everyone can do it or would want to do it
5.    Everyone ought to receive an invitation to be taught programming, which they can experience
      (toe in water), accept or reject
6.    We need good teachers of programming, teachers who understand both programming, learning
      theory and learners
7.    Teachers of programming need to develop (design, program, refactor, test, publish) their own
      programs / games. Eat your own dogfood.
8.    It is even better if the programming is linked to significant social justice issues, eg. africaGame
9.    Blogs and wikis ought to be incorporated into the development process to enhance
      communication and collaboration
10.   Blogs and wikis aren't enough on their own. We need to study and / or develop design and
      communication tools that represent this whole process and enable it to be better discussed and
      communicated, eg. UML diagrams, design patterns
11.   Learning theory continues to evolve dynamically, that needs to be integrated into this whole
Justification of games programming

 Games programming can be justified on three
 • transferable cognitive skills,
 • metacogitive skills and
 • affective benefits:
    transferable cognitive skills
• The idea behind transferable cognitive skills
  is that students are learning skills in areas
  such as mathematics and literacy while
  programming games and that these skills
  will transfer to the more traditional areas
  with measurable outcomes.
        Metacognitive skills
• Metacognitive skills are the self
  management skills we employ when we are
           Affective benefits
• Affective benefits refers to our attitudes to
  school, teachers and classrooms. If students
  enjoy going to school, they will learn better.
      transferable cognitive skills
•   Cartesian coordinates
•   Negative number
•   Position, speed, acceleration
•   Algebraic variables
•   Relative & absolute value
•   Estimation
•   Chance
•   A programming language similar to Visual Basic
•   New unidentified skills for a digital age?
           Cross curriculum
• Game programming could be a framework
  within which team skills, music, art, drama,
  maths, history, geography or almost
  anything could be learned. The important
  feature of the game is its power to motivate.
  Motivation leads to learning.
• ‘The computer is a medium of human
  expression and if it has not yet had its
  Shakespeares, its Michelangelos or its
  Einsteins, it will. …. We have scarcely
  begun to grasp its human and social
  implications.’(Papert 1990)
           TWO WAY WEB
•   webpage
•   Wiki,
•   blog,
•   podcast,
•   videocast,
•   Skypecast,
•   Teamspeak,
•   Ventrilo
•   Flickr
•   Google Video/Youtube
        Two way web because
• learners benefit from publication of their
• learning is a social process, it thrives in a
• teachers learn from their peers
• schools should engage with their

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