Returning to the library for the first session this term, the group is now bursting at the seams with enthusiastic participants. Many thanks to the families who brought laptops in with them so that we could squeeze more children into the session, a temporary measure until we can buy our own laptops for the group.
Hereafter this group becomes ‘group 1’ because ‘group 2’ will be starting in two weeks with a further fourteen participants.
Today we asked group 1 ‘What makes a game great to play?’ I scribbled the children’s answers as quickly as possible but they were coming faster than I could write…..
“Interesting scenery and graphics, something that challenges you but not so much that it’s impossible, fighting mobs – goodies vs baddies, the option to restart, lots of levels, collecting items (eg coins) and being able to use them in some way (to buy something or to create something new), the ability to make something within the game, unlocking treasure or levels, a good story, controlling the action in the game, a multiplayer option, gaining a score, having a mission……”
We suggested two websites that the children could research games on, http://www.friv.com and http://www.miniclip.com, and then invited them to take some time to find a game that they would like to use as inspiration to make their own Scratch version.
At the end of the session they animatedly shared their work with each other and made comments and suggestions about the projects. No one had completed their project so they have something to work on between sessions if they wish.
It’s interesting to see how each child has a preferred specialism that they return to when making new projects – for instance, one creates characters in the paint program which have an enormous amount of personality for something made of a few brush stokes, another focuses on game mechanics – remembering where they have previously used code that would be helpful to use again and ‘backpacking’ it between projects, another always has a joke or unexpected comedy moment in their projects that make the others laugh, one pictures in their mind very precisely the ‘look’ they want to create and can translate that into their projects, and so on. Three of the children decided today that they would work collaboratively on a project.
Non-participating siblings and parents are welcome to stay during the session; sometimes they join in too…
blog post by MadameSultana