With the scrapping of the current ICT curriculum and a big push towards practical ICT, many schools are looking at new ideas for lessons in the next academic year. If you’re teaching Key Stage 2 children, choosing to focus on games programming is a fantastic opportunity to do something different. It’s a chance to move away from traditional lessons based around word processing and discover a new skill that many students will be able to apply in later life.
In a games programming lesson, students can work in groups to create stories, games and animations with simple educational tools. As they work together they’ll pick up basic programming concepts as well as ideas that relate to PSHE, numeracy and literacy.
If you’re considering experimenting with games creation, it’s best to start with one of the free tools available. Try Alice, Kodu or Scratch and see which one suits you and your students best. We’d recommend using Scratch, it’s suitable for ages 8 and up and can even be used with younger children providing they are properly supported.
Scratch, which is already used in many schools for children aged 12 and above, is the most accessible tool we’ve seen. It’s focus on dragging and dropping code elements, rather than writing them, means it’s far easier to get your students up and running. The site’s comprehensive video tutorials and online community are also an added bonus that will help both you and your class get to grips with the software.
While the Scratch website is a great place to get started, we’d also recommend checking out the TES website. They’ve written a useful article that contains links to schemes of work, guides and tutorials on all the games programming tools. It’s a great resource and if you’ve any doubts about getting started (it can seem pretty daunting), then take a look here and see exactly what can be achieved.