Game on at Dar­ling­ton

Hills Gazette - - OPINION - Sarah Brookes

DAR­LING­TON Pri­mary School stu­dents are de­sign­ing and build­ing an orig­i­nal game as part of this year’s Aus­tralian STEM Video Game Chal­lenge.

Dar­ling­ton Pri­mary School cod­ing club co-or­di­na­tor Mark Mc­Neill said the com­pe­ti­tion was a great op­por­tu­nity for stu­dents to en­gage in hand­son learn­ing span­ning the ar­eas of sci­ence, tech­nol­ogy, engi­neer­ing and maths (STEM) in a fun and chal­leng­ing way.

“The com­pe­ti­tion is about mov­ing be­yond pas­sive con­sump­tion of dig­i­tal me­dia and un­der­stand­ing that stu­dents have the op­por­tu­nity to de­velop the skills to cre­ate ev­ery­thing from games, web­sites, phone apps to the more ad­vanced ap­pli­ca­tions we will see in the fu­ture with ar­ti­fi­cial in­tel­li­gence, big data and self-drive cars,” he said.

“The aim was for stu­dents to com­pletely de­sign a game, build it and test it and that other stu­dents can play, with­out in­put from the team.

“It needed to be both in­ter­est­ing and chal­leng­ing and what made it a lit­tle bit more dif­fi­cult is all the char­ac­ters, back­grounds and uten­sils have to be cre­ated from orig­i­nal art work.”

Mr McNeil said cod­ing clubs had many ben­e­fits.

“The ben­e­fits to stu­dents in our club are very sim­i­lar to learn­ing an­other lan­guage or mu­sic, as it forces them to think log­i­cally and cre­ate a way of think­ing that they might not come across in other ar­eas,” he said.

“They use a free cod­ing pro­gram de­vel­oped by ed­u­ca­tors at MIT called Scratch, which al­lows young stu­dents to learn the fun­da­men­tals of pro­gram­ming and en­joy them­selves at the same time.”

Pic­ture: Bruce Hunt

Jonathan Bigelow at work.

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