Bev's adventures in ICT

Get your game face on!

I remember when playing a game involved some sort of foldable board or some odd bits of plastic that somehow linked together (or, in the care of Game of Life, both!!!). But times have changed and electronic games are slowly replacing the cherished games of my childhood, like Kerplunk and, my all time favourite, Cluedo. I, for one, am quite happy with this idea. Families used to gather around and play Monopoly (at least they did in the adverts) – they now gather around the Wii, or some other social gaming platform, and can enjoy themselves playing all sorts of games – and that’s a good thing! Games also have a place in the classroom: they can motivate learners in all sorts of ways and inspire and enhance a range of classroom projects. There’s been plenty written and blogged about this already, especially by Games supremo Dawn Hallybone and the Redbridge Games Network and I have nothing more to add to their comprehensive advise. But I am going to talk about how creating games to support learning can engage pupils!

Now there are a few different things pupils can use to create games and activities for their own use but many are really only suitable for older (Ks2 and up) pupils. I want younger pupils, and those with SEN, to also have an opportunity to develop their skills in this area so I’m going to focus on 2DIY, and on one activity that I think is particularly suited to younger pupils. I’ve spoken before about using 2DIY in the classroom, and it’s a great piece of software to have available. What could be better than getting a child to create a game that links to their current targets so that they could use it to help them reach their goal? Or getting pupils to create games that can be used in class and assessed by their peers? It’s another great way to motivate and engage learners.

I love using 2DIY with younger pupils, especially as it gives them an opportunity to be creative and to think about their own learning. The pairs game may, at first, appear to be a simple idea but there are certain things you can do to tweak it ever so slightly and make it much more than the sum of its parts. The videos included to support you are fabulous and not only act as a way in for more visual learners (I often see pupils checking out the videos for tips) but they only give a snapshot of what can be achieved. Here are some ideas that will make a simple pairs game look really beautiful and well presented (in addition to being useful and engaging). Here are some tips…

  1. Use the text tool: as seen in the image above, the use of the text tool can make children’s games look really professional and attractive. It also has the additional benefit of making things very clear and easy to read. 
  2. Use the clip art included: some things look beautiful when hand drawn but certain things need to be accurately displayed and using the included clip art (or your own) is great for this.
  3. Show pupils how to customise their palette by double clicking on individual colours in the toolbar: matching colours are easier on the eye and appealing to look at. This is also good when you might be creating games for pupils with dyslexia or dyscalculia  – make the palette match their reading overlay!
  4. Colour code your activity: by making sure each pair has it’s own clear colour scheme you can give very young pupils an extra prompt towards finding the matching pair. And, finally…
  5. Get pupils to use the magnifier when hand drawing pictures and remind them that they can alter the pencil size. This is also where you can remind them  about using their copying and pasting skills so they don’t have to attempt to draw the same thing twice.

There is, of course, so much more you can do with this fantastic program across a whole range of ages. But I haven’t come across a child yet who hasn’t enjoyed creating this simple sort of activity for themselves or younger pupils. If you haven’t tried it you really should…



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