Case Studies

There is a range of ways schools using computer game programming for learning. Differences include:

  • primary vs. secondary school
  • clubs and elective programs vs. whole of class use
  • low scaffolding vs. high scaffolding approaches

Maybe these uses have little in common beyond the uniform belief that the motivating power of games is very good for learning?

Tony Forster

I run 2 programs, Haileybury Computer Club and a Gateways program.

Haileybury Computer Club

Computer Club is an after school club started in 2003. Haileybury is a private school. Computer Club works on the principle that kids can do whatever they want providing that, if playing a game, they have access to editable source. Because this it is a voluntary program, it tends to skim off the upper half of a class. Though the kids do a lot of mucking around, they spend about 50% of their time creating games. Students are given about 1 hour's instruction and then are free to persue their own projects in a constructivist/constructionist setting. Peer tutoring arises naturally and is encouraged. It is a low scaffolding approach. The kids have been highly productive and creative as the website attests. The program is open to kids from years 1 to 8. Most interest is from years 4 to 6. The programming language is Gamemaker.

Gateways

G.A.T.E.WAYS (Gifted and Talented Education, Extension and Enrichment) was established in 1994 by Win Smith and Jill Lawrence, both of whom have backgrounds in teaching and parenting gifted children. It is their aim to provide opportunities for children of 'like-minds' to participate in programs that will challenge them intellectually and help develop their individual talents.

The particular Gateways program or "journey" using game programming started 15 May. It is for years 5&6. There are 16 students, 2 or 3 from each school. Most are from state schools. I may make it a bit more structured than Haileybury but its only week 1!

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