The Digital Schoolhouse, powered by PlayStation and delivered by Ukie, is a national initiative backed by the games industry to inspire and engage teachers and students with creative computing and computational thinking using play-based learning techniques. Teachers trialled the Gold Rush Game Maker and associated teaching resources with a wide range of students and immediately saw the benefits.
"My year 13's wanted to use Game Maker to create a game for one of the OCR Cambridge Technical units and REALLY liked the paper prototyping kit. They have to produce designs and plans so all felt this was really good to get those plans together without having to rely on their own drawing skills. They can see how the plan/design relates to the final product and it's great for moderators to see this process too." Mark Ward, Digital Schoolhouse Lead Teacher at St John Fisher Catholic Voluntary School, Dewsbury
By harnessing the power of play in the classroom the Digital Schoolhouse programme is able to inspire and engage both teachers and students alike with the wider possibilities that computing and technology bring. Our programme operates out of twenty schools across the country, which invite visiting teachers to bring their students and participate in interactive and innovative workshops.
Collaborating with industry and organisations like the BBC enriches the work of the programme and enables us to bring cutting-edge resources into classrooms across the country. As part of this work, we were thrilled to be able to pilot the BBC's Game Maker resource in our schools.
Games provide a unique blend of STEAM subjects, (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, together with art).
They are the perfect hotbed for creativity, they enable students to develop their ideas, skills and understanding across a range of subjects. Designing a good game doesn't just require programming, but also combines game mechanics with an inspiring narrative and engaging artwork.
Additionally, more complex games often require an understanding of physics, it's a complete cross-curricular blend.
It's very important to have the right tool to introduce students to games design, we need to introduce the key concepts without intimidating early users. The Gold Rush Game Maker does this extremely well. It is able to simplify complex game mechanics while providing the scaffolding to enable young designers to stretch their understanding.
And the most important part? It's a whole lot of fun too; here's what some of our students said about their experiences…
"the idea of the game is really great, and very addicting."
"Very time and reaction based type of game that I really enjoy playing. I do think this is good as a game needs to be challenging enough, but not too hard. Very interestingly designed."
"This game is just overall amazing, no flaws, just pure fun!"
"Overall this game is my favourite its quite unique and very addictive you could improve the controls … and stop the rocks from targeting you because it makes the game extremely hard."
Students at Gilredge House Digital Schoolhouse, Eastbourne