Exploring Technology

Big Question:
Where am I on the pathway to becoming a technology expert?

Learning Intentions (both Year 7 and Year 8)
1 – Can design and create using a range of digital technology programs.
2 – Can explain the procedures used in a range of digital technology programs

My Year 7 unit is based around a program that was created by Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) called “Scratch”.

“With Scratch, you can program your own interactive stories, games, and animations — and share your creations with others in the online community.

Scratch helps young people learn to think creatively, reason systematically, and work collaboratively — essential skills for life in the 21st century.” http://scratch.mit.edu/about/

I teach student basic photography skills including rule of thirds and macro. I use a green screen in the classroom so the students can use the cameras and then photoshop their image with magic-wand into a digital format. These png files are then used in the student’s Scratch games and stories.

The next step is to create popular games in the Scratch format eg Crossy Road clone. The students have also created a ‘Eco Story’ which incorporates photography, photoshop and Scratch skills as well as being more aware about keeping their environment rubbish-free. The students also get to add ‘mini-games’ within their story. The theme is that they create a program that encourages other students to remember to pick up their rubbish.

In my Year 8 unit, I have incorporated 3D design and printing into the student’s learning. For 3D design, I am using an online resource called TinkerCad (www.tinkercad.com), which uses pre-made geometric shapes, and letters that the students can manipulate into what they would like to create. We are printing on Ultimaker 2+ 3D printers from www.mindkits.co.nz. Using TinkerCad, the students have created designer chairs and individualised key tags. Each student has their key tag design 3D printed, to allow the student to see how successful their design is.

The students also design a prototype game controller to be used with a Makey Makey device. They create a game on Scratch 2 or Scratch Desktop, that the 3D printed controller will work with. This game may be a Flappy Bird clone, a Mr Jump clone, a Colour Switch clone or something else that the students have created.

The students then produce a marketing package, including studio photography, to promote their prototype controller and their Scratch game to their peers in a Shark Tank format.