I think it's better that we ask our students to create projects rather than games
This represents a trade off between motivation (games are more motivating for some) and a curriculum based more on educational principles
Motivation is very important. But if the teacher leans too far towards the motivation principle they may well lose their authority to introduce other important educational content into the mix. Teacher authority? Well, yes, teachers ought to use their authority to do what they think is best.
This also represents a change in my thought that computing as such and programming in particular ought to be some sort of "centre of gravity" to one where I see science and maths as a more important "centre of gravity"
Hence, this year I have gone back to teaching as a Middle School maths / science teacher as well as a senior school computing teacher
This is also represented in a shift in my current programming software of choice from Game Maker (focus on games) to Scratch (focus on projects)
So tonight, I've been reworking an old Game Maker worksheet into a Scratch Project worksheet.
As well as the global replace, "game" with "project", what has disappeared off the worksheet? Some questions about configuration (Can the player configure the game to suit themselves – such as alter the backgrounds, music, difficulty, character?), emotions invoked, the quality of the game play and some hints about good game design.
What has stayed on the worksheet and been transformed in this process? Some questions about the quality of help, educational goals, fun factor, interactivity, ideas and things like that.
These criteria are also influencing the projects that I pick and provide to the students for them to critique. I don't pick something because it has good game play but I look for some other broader educational objective. I searched the Scratch site for projects using the tags maths, science and simulations, not games or animations. And I will ask my students to produce an educational project to teach a real person something and not a game. This will lead to some interesting conversations when some students will ask, "Can I build a game?"
I think developing a scientific world view is a more important educational goal than computer programming as such.
in general programmers are not creatures of the enlightenment
the decline of IT in education
comparing game maker with etoys / squeak
Interesting to compare my current thinking with points 1,2 and 3 of this earlier post (April 2007)
Something is making me do it (September 2005)
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