Thursday, April 5, 2012


The past few weeks have given me time to do some reflection on the class.  I have also spoken to some reporters about the project.  Given that the girls had zero programming knowledge when we started.  I have to say that they did learn some programming concepts. They have an understanding of a random number, variables, if- statements, loops, conditions, and even parameters as a message in scratch.  I have to say that if they went into Intro to Programming in our Upper School they would find themselves successful.   We had 16 class periods (46 minutes) to work on the project (including formal study halls that I took over) over the course of 8 weeks.  We had about 13 games started and 10 completed to some level.  Well 11, one group worked on the levels individually and we had a hard time getting them to work together. (Need to post their levels as they are cool).

The girls learned a lot about problem solving.  The classroom was a very loud classroom since they talked about the problems with each other.  They learned from their failures and found out that sometimes it takes time to get task accomplished.  Some ran into problems and were stuck on the problem for a period or two before they made headway.  Not for the lack of trying, but building from their mistakes, which was great to see.  The majority didn't give up, they wanted to figure it out and get items working.  I also saw many of them give each other praise and support as they finished the games.  They wanted to play each of the games and were always supportive with the comments.

What I plan on doing differently is giving them a fixed timeline of when storyboards and outlines need to be done, making sure that they spend less time with artistic at first and concentrate on the programming so that they can have a game completed then go back and add the items to make the games pretty.  I also plan on having a way to daily chart the group work so that all members of the groups have to do some of the programming.   The equality of the group work is something that is hard to develop and making sure that I have something in place so the girls know that their group dynamic counts in passing the project.

In all, I had a blast with the project and plan on continuing it in my class.  I love that PBS stream focused the challenge to be educational game instead of just a video game.  I think that gave focus to many of my students in the brainstorming and did not become to overwhelmed with the designing of a game.