Eighth graders at Indian Mills Memorial Middle School have worked in the classroom to build their own video games in a class called Design Technology that encourages students to tap into their creativity and create a world of their own.
In the library at the Shamong school is an area called makerspace, which holds a variety of technology tools for students to use. Out of that, the Design Technology class allows them to utilize different technologies to create their work. In the class’ curriculum is a block based coding unit called Scratch with the necessary information to design video games.
This year, according to the school’s Media Specialist Amanda Vogelei, was the first in which she extended the unit a little further so students could take complete ownership of their creations, rather than following a pre-made game tutorial on Scratch.
Vogelei noted that the creation of the video games is something any student can access even if they are unfamiliar with coding. The nature of the games is up to the students, be they simple or something more multidimensional. The teacher described one of the students’ video games as having a dragon and knight to control.
“It’s great, because it really is accessible for students who don’t know coding very well because maybe their game is simple,” Vogelei explained. “Maybe it’s a maze their character is moving through or it’s something more complex. So it really caters to those students who are newer to coding then is also more advanced for students who really like coding or have more experience with it,”
Students were then able to use an application called Makey Makey that involves using a circuit kit to connect necessary wires to their computers. In one case, the students used Play-Doh on the kits, with the balls of clay acting as the buttons on their keyboards.
Vogelei noted that the video games created enable her to see each student’s personality shine through their video game. She also spoke on why the Design Technology class is more than just fun.
“I think the Design Technology class in general is just such a great addition to our school’s curriculum because it engages students in just a different hands on way than a traditional classroom,” Vogelei said