On that note, today we did Hour of Code.
This is a digital coding programme is designed for children and adults alike, to slowly, step-by-step, introduce the key ideas behind game coding and get you doing each of these steps, before setting you off to make your own game/play around.
There are two main ways of coding..
Using blocks (i.e. like Scratch) and using Java script (i.e. like I did when I programmed the robot at Ulearn).
Here are two videos made up of screenshots, of me working through the two types of game formatting.
I found the Hour of Code really helpful and easy to use - it builds your skills one by one and exposes you to more complex ideas as you progress. This approach would be much better suited to kids, rather than jumping straight into using Scratch or Gamefroot with no preparation beforehand.
I think when I do coding with my kids (either end of this term, or next year..) I will follow this semi-structure.
1. Introduction to games (boardgames, knucklebones, card games etc) - aim: to build understanding of the purpose of games, the reason/need for instructions and get kids evaluating/reviewing games to see strengths and weaknesses.
2. Hour of code - aim: to build basic understanding of how game coding works
3. Use scratch to build onto basic game understandings - multiple characters, how to build in levels/points. Any game with no specified purpose - just practice!
4. Find a social problem in our community and design a game that will help/teach/inform about this social issue
5. Students form groups and design, then build, their own game using scratch.
I think I would also like to have a 'code club' as a lunchtime activity where students from any year level can come and code together to revise/build upon their skills.