I’m in the lovely position of working with and planning for all year groups from FS to Y6 and can trial new ideas in and around topic modules or with focus groups. There is a clear positive impact in supporting different learning styles via the options that technology offers.
When I started drafting this post last year, I had begun filming excerpts of ‘Student Voice’, observing children explain the work they were or had been doing. I was looking at two things:
- how children articulate their ideas and how, for example, 3D Games and digital applications enable some to create vastly more creative or complex ideas than would be possible in ‘simply’ written form.
- how teacher talk scaffolds learning and similarities and differences with different age students, for example, when using the same app in a different context, e.g. Brushes with F1 vs. Y2 or Explain Everything with Y1 vs. Y3.
Context: 3D Gaming Lunchtime Club CCA
Students sign up to the club and are introduced to 2DIY 3D Game Design from PurpleMash.co.uk. Now in its 3rd year, students choose their own game format whereas in previous years we’ve trialled the app with a specific target, e.g. creating a bank of rainy day games for students to access or games for girls. The club is aimed at Y3 upwards, but I often get asked if younger siblings can come and join in, so children can show their work to brothers or sisters. I often find that students then go and log on at home and access the game together.
Here’s an example of one student talking about their game that at first glance looks quite simplistic in 2D plan. The game designer is a lively, chatty chappy, who often found it a challenge to stay on task. At the time of filming, he was in Y4, and had known him since he was in my F1 class, so know his personality and tactics [his family give full permission to mention him here, and to share his work].
However, as you’ll hear here he is fully engaged and enjoying the challenge of moving between a 2D and 3D environment. He has clear game guidelines and rules and has chosen specific elements in his design to emulate a real life football challenge [although not a skilled footballer himself] and to challenge other players – fantastic!
Gaming provided him with an opportunity to self-direct, develop a game strategy, explore a virtual football environment and challenge others without having to engage in a physical game where peers had more extensive skills. Developing his game sustained his attention over a series of weeks and he remaining committed to the task. Without realising it, he had actively engaged in a process of design, debugging + critical thinking and was then encouraged to seek peer review and to express his ideas clearly by teaching others what he had learned.