Pinterest is a visual discovery tool that people use to collect ideas for their different projects and interests. People create and share collections (called “boards”) of visual bookmarks (called “Pins”) that they use to do things like plan trips and projects, organize events or save articles and recipes etc. I’m using mine as a way of keeping a teachers tool box. So I am pinning lots of things that could be used in the classroom for a range of subjects to make my teaching more exciting. I’m still quite new to Pinterest, so my profile is relatively small. My pinterest
Michael Gove’s new National Curriculum is coming into action this September. The current theory is that as a country, we do not produce enough computer programming people and hence the change to the curriculum. The Department for Education has recently published an article about the proposed changes.
Through learning about computer programming, children will learn to create and design their own games and programs. One of the programs that children will be introduced to will be Scratch, which Michael Gove is very in favour of. It allows people (not just children) to create a game related to anything – maths, stories, aliens, etc. It is also free – everyone loves free stuff!
The program allows you to either chose background and characters/objects from the current one that they have on their already, or you can import your own images, or copy and paste ones from Google etc. You can also paint you own backgrounds which children will love. There is also the option to insert a picture of yourself or the children and remove the background so that you or the children can be the character in the game.
The options available mean that you can make the game about absolutely anything. You could create a story, or a game that require the children to work out some maths (use of angles, fractions etc.) in order to proceed etc. Or you could keep it simple and just make a general game as I have done below. It is a very cross curricular program, and makes way for lots of learning to occur, not just about computer programming.
It is a relatively simple process once you have the hang of it, which could make way for an entire terms worth of computing lessons:
- Week 1 – Introduce the program and the options that Scratch has available
- Week 2 – Import/create the background
- Week 3 – Import/create a character/s with movement
- Week 4 – Import/create an enemy with movement
- Week 5 – Add in finishing touches
It is important that the children aren’t just following a step by step guide of how to make a game, and that they actually have some ownership on the game. So it is important that they put their own spin on it – either by changing the characters and background, or making a completely new type of game entirely. As the teacher, we are there to challenge the children to create something that they would not be able to do alone, and scaffold their learning about computer programming.
Creating the two above took me roughly an hour as this was the first time I had used the program. So as you can see, it is relatively simple, not particularly tasking on the brain and an excellent resource to use with children. As the program is free it allows children to go home, create their own games which they can play with family and friends etc. and log on to their account and share with their rest of the class.
The games as you can see can be uploaded onto the class blog and shared with the world – something children will feel very proud of (Data protection rules apply)
As a final idea, each child can have their own Scratch Design Notebook which contains a range of challenges and reflections for the children to carry out. It links really well to the new national curriculum with getting the children to discuss their debugging techniques and links to programming away from the computer – unplugged activities.
Have a go, and let me know what you think 🙂