Our technology integration teacher at the high school came to chat with me about ways for my kiddos to create video games. In the end, we settled on the app Floors. There are 2 options with this app: draw the game on paper using a code and take a picture to put it in the app or draw directly on the app. We decided to have the kiddos draw on the specially designed paper because we could have everyone work at the same time, and we thought drawing on the app was more difficult. The games they created are "Mario"type games.
|Teaching us how to find and play a game on the iPad. The iPad is connected to projector and projected on the SMARTboard. The "smart" part of the SMARTboard cannot be used at this point, manipulating is done on the iPad.|
After our "expert" showed the kids how to draw a level and loaded it on his iPad for them to see, they set to work trying to draw their own levels using the special paper and "code sheet". We allowed them to practice 3 days and gave them the option to take paper and code sheets home if they wanted to try it at home too.
After everyone had a chance to practice, I gave them the option to be in a group and create a game with 2 or 3 other kids (these groups worked with the expert) or to play and make games with me. Out of my 18, 11 chose to try to make a video game in a group. Surprisingly, the child who ask how video games were made did not choose to make one. My literacy coach said, well, he learned how it was done and decided it was something he didn't want to do!
The groups worked together for 2 days (about 30 minutes per day) before Mr. Smith (our expert) went around the took the pictures of them to load them into the iPad. In their groups, there was one "drawer" and the other 2 or 3 kiddos were allowed to dictate where everything went. The "drawer" was chosen by me based on their practice time. You had to draw right on the lines to make it transfer well, so I looked what the kiddos had done during practice time. We tried to let the kids help with the scanning, but there are places that have to align on the screen and the paper, and this provided to be an 'expert' skill. Once they were scanned in, the kids worked with Mr. Smith to choose backgrounds, characters, colors, etc.
|Scanning the drawings into the iPad.|
|Making their video games their own!|
This project was a bit of a leap of faith for me. I had mixed feelings: "This is so cool, they are going to love it" and "There is no way they are going to be able to do this." The paper they had to use was tiny graph paper, and drawing using a code was not something we had ever done before. I broke out thick- lead mechanical pencils thinking that the sharper the pencil was, the easier it would be to stay on the lines. I was shocked how excited they were to start trying to draw the "extras" like coins, spikes, ladders, etc.
Our expert was a definite bonus, as he has young children himself and a love for technology with was apparent. My kiddos loved his visits and were willing to take risks and try different things. I was in awe of their completed video games. In my wildest dreams, I would have never thought to make a video game with 6 year olds! It was an amazing project, and it makes me want to try other projects that I might not have thought possible. Don't underestimate them when they are interested, engaged and have the right resources, no matter how old they are!
What kind of projects have you tried with your students? When have your kiddos exceeded your expectations and/or surprised you?