Kodu

(New Projects Part 6) Visual Programming: Kodu Project – 2nd Year/Year 8

This project builds on a the 1st Kodu project (year 7/1st year) which will be posted soon. In the first project, students find their feet with Kodu. In this project they have to decide a genre for their game and fully plan it.

Project: Visual Programming: Kodu Project

Project Sheet (link)

Presentation (link)

 

My 1st day back – Disaster! Software not working!

It was my 1st day back at school today (yes, I know most people went back last week) and  have been looking forward to delivering my new Kodu scheme of work.

Over the holidays, as I am sure some of you have read, I spent 2 weeks creating resources for it.

I had 4 classes today that I intended to deliver the 1st lesson to. Period 1 and the 1st class came in. I explained the project, the learning objectives and the purpose of using Kodu for programming. Now it was time to the next step:

“OK folks, now its time to open Kodu and have a proper look.”

It didn’t work! The software refused to start! Not a great first day back. Four lessons planned and I could not deliver any of them as I had hoped.

What can you do when this happens? Panic? Cry? Get angry?

You have got to be composed and think on your feet.

Luckily I have a number of resources and websites available in just such an occasion. I would advise every teacher to make sure they have the same. Most teachers, I can imagine, do already. One website that is really useful for KS3 is www.reviseict.co.uk, there are some great revision games on there for students.

By period 5, the 4th lesson I was supposed to deliver Kodu, it was up and running. The technicians were great and dropped everything to ensure the software was working correctly. I was a very happy man.

I have to say, I really enjoyed teaching Kodu. It is great fun and really engaging. The students loved it too! The feedback was great, plus many of the students stayed in at lunch to work on their programs.

After an initial disaster I finished work a happy man.

Is teaching computing an intimidating prospect for an ICT teacher?

Computing

When I did my GTP several years ago I did next to no training in computing. As we all know the curriculum was very much ICT based and that was fine with me. The skills I have very much fitted in with the curriculum I had to teach.

Things are now changing. Gove has told teachers that they don’t have to stick to the old curriculum now. Over the past year and a half I have been able to teach my own curriculum anyway, as I have moved to an independent school. But it’s very clear there is a need to teach computing in schools before KS4.

I agree this should happen, and its very exciting. However, it is also quite intimidating. I have spent almost 7 years (including my training) just teaching ICT with very little computing. Where do I go from here? Well, I have already started teaching visual programming using Kodu, I am also in the middle of writing a computer science scheme of work to be delivered next year.

My biggest worry is programming. The reason I didn’t choose programming at university was because I find it very difficult. For me it is like using a new language. I am very much of the opinion programming is not for everyone. Although, I understand it is very important.

I am sure there are other teachers like me who do not program. If the government want programming in schools they are going to need to stump up some money for training courses.

There has to be room for both ICT and Computer Science.

I would also very much like to rebrand ICT, for me it is old fashioned. Perhaps Digital Literacy would be more appropriate?

There are several teachers who I follow on Twitter working on Digital Studies. Is that the rebrand we need? I don’t think there is one answer but would certainly like to  rebrand ICT at my school.

This has been a very cobbled together blog post, so I apologise if it does not seem to very coherent. Over the next few weeks, when I have more time I would like to expand on my thoughts.