Games – Grade 11 engagement

 

Introduction

As is stated in the Game Development: Truly a “Collaborative Learning” Experience section: “teaching students how to develop games is an excellent strategy. Game development not only teaches programming and programming concepts, it is perfectly aligned to having students work in collaborative teams.” Today’s students live in a much richer world of computers, electronics and interactivity than any previous generation. “Based on this, today’s learning programmers have much higher ambitions and expectations regarding what they want to do and will thus not be satisfied with the earlier generation’s approaches to learn programming.” (see Teaching Computer Studies using Game Design.) With this in mind, this section exists to show off some of the already existing approaches being taken regarding Game Design as a means to teach programming; make cross-curricular connections; teach critical thinking, top-down design and the design process; develop a deeper understanding of how interdisciplinary connections lead to teamwork and a better final product; and, make career connections.

The majority of this posting offers up some different examples of how current teachers are using the medium of Game Design is being used for lesson delivery. The first two examples are secondary school teachers in Ontario, following the same curriculum, with one example each of ICS3C and ICS3U. The next two examples are at the post secondary level showing that teaching and learning Game Design is a serious area of study in both Computer Science and inter disciplinary fields.

At the bottom of this post, there is a list of every overall expectation for Grade 11 that teaching Game Design can have an impact on. As one can see, it touches the majority of the Ministry has dictated be covered.

While not a panacea for all students or circumstances, there are certainly a great number of benefits to using Game Design in a Computer Studies to help keep students engaged while making real world connections.

 

What other High School Teachers are doing:

Mr. Yeung: Computer Science, Computer Technology and occasional Math teacher at St. James Catholic High School in Guelph.
Mr. Yeung’s ICS3U Culminating Activity
Students are to create a game using the Ready to Program GUI in Java. The concept will require the student to design and plan the layout of the game. Restrictions on the game include the limitations console window in the program, the requirement that it is a turn based game for the user and must include some form of user input via keyboard.
This is a group project that will be completed in class starting when students return from Christmas break. This is a project that can be individual or in pairs.
Specifications:

• Turn based game design
• Requires the use of methods and arrays
• Submit a design proposal prior to implementation
• Multiple forms of input (input char, string, int)
• Random number generator must be used
• Single player vs. Computer or Two player Mode
• An approved proposal due within the first week of class
• A README.TXT file providing an instruction manual for using the program

Project suggestions: Blackjack, Yahtzee

 

Mr. Payne Teaches: ICS3M1 at Thomas A Blakelock High School Oakville, Ontario.
Educational Game:
“You are required to build an educational game. Your theme can be school education like maths, history, English etc. or out of school education like netball rules, football rules, the road rules, etc. Your game has to be designed to teach someone else (eg. a Year 8 student) something. You decide what that something is.”

Another example of a Rich Assessment Task for the ICS3C1 students:
The Space Invaders game using Game Maker. See the following for his Marking Scheme.

 

What other Post Secondary Teachers are doing:

Steve Engels – Lecturer at UofT – CSC404: Intro to Game Design

Mr. Engels approach:
1. Game Pitch — Jan 26th

o Basic gameplay & secret ingredients (DOTW)
o 5 layers for each aspect of deliverable (Embarrassed –> High Level)
o Written creative brief
o (Critique of other proposals)

2. Design Specifications & Interim Report — Feb 9th

o Mock-ups, storyboards, sketches
o Description of progress on layers of game
o Presentation and/or demo of latest developments
o Written design document

3. Minimum Target — Mar 1st

o In-class prototype demo (first layer minimum)
o Presentation, feedback and final goal setting

4. Alpha Release — Mar 22nd

o In-class demo of completed product
o Short presentation
o Written user manual

5. Play Testing & Final Paper — Apr 2nd and Apr 5th

o Testing & evaluation
o Updates & recommendations
o Final writeup
o Peer evaluation
o Video trailer

 

The Game Development Process – Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Here is the list of topics covered in this course:

• Introduction

o Industry trends
o Industry shape
o Team Management
o Publisher-Developer relationship
o Game development timeline
o Postmortem

• Game Design

o Game Play
o Design Documentation
o Level Design

• Artistic Content Creation

o Color and Games
o Displays
o 2D and 3D

- Graphics
- Animation
- Image/File Formats

o Audio

- Music
- Sound Effects

• Engineering

o Programming
o Game Architectures

 

Grade 11 Applicable Curriculum Connections

ICS3C – Introduction to Computer Programming, Grade 11:

A2. Demonstrate the ability to use control structures and simple algorithms in computer programs;
A3. Use proper code maintenance techniques and conventions when creating computer programs.
B1. Use a variety of problem-solving strategies to solve different types of problems;
B2. Design software solutions to meet a variety of challenges, using a set of standards;
B3. Design simple algorithms according to specifications;
B4. Apply a software development life-cycle model to a software development project.
C3. Use a software development environment to write and run computer programs.
D3. Explain key aspects of the impact that emerging technologies have on society;
D4. Describe postsecondary education and career prospects related to computer studies.

ICS3U – Introduction to Computer Science, Grade 11:

A4. Use proper code maintenance techniques when creating computer programs.
B1. Use a variety of problem-solving strategies to solve different types of problems independently and as part of a team;
B2. Design software solutions to meet a variety of challenges;
B3. Design algorithms according to specifications;
B4. Apply a software development life-cycle model to a software development project.
C1. Demonstrate the ability to apply modular design concepts in computer programs;
C3. Demonstrate an understanding of the software development process.
D2. Demonstrate an understanding of emerging areas of computer science research;
D3. Describe postsecondary education and career prospects related to computer studies.

  

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