We started a tuesday club too

Today we started a Tuesday afterschool digital club as well as the Thursday, to cope with the extra demand on numbers.

The children who came worked on an Angry Birds animation, they made some wonderful cardboard cutouts and at the end of the session even got to film some of the game. We used Lego Movie (which filmed upside down we discovered – so this first go you will have to stand on your head to see it!) Next week we will be able to finish it off properly now we know the quirks of the software.

The children are deconstructing the game and learning about what makes it addictive, how the scoring works and also how to break it down, so they can demonstrate to others how to play it.

They really enjoyed making the film and want to learn Scratch by recreating Angry Birds as a test. Im not even sure my self how that will work, but Im looking forward to experimenting to find out.

Animation made by Elsie and Asier, photos by Elsie

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First class winter term

Yesterday we had the first session of the new Afterschool Digital Club at Elm Grove School, Hanover, Brighton.

15 children attended, we had a prezi presentation of what we plan to do, which you can see here.
This is what we achieved in the first session.
1 We split into pairs, each taking turns to describe our favourite computer game for the other partner to guess (Ipad, Internet, Games Console, Phone Computer etc). This got us thinking about playability, story etc

2 Then we  voted on the most popular games and picked 6 groups to create an animation/film of the following games;
Spiro, Mario Bros, Squash the Bug, Deadly Planet, Minecraft and Angry Birds

3 The groups then drew the characters and components of their games on paper ready to make into props and 2d characters for next weeks animation and video shoots.

4 One of the groups want to make a film using real people, another wants to go straight to scratch to recreate their game, the rest will be using animation programs to create a film of their game.

some magnificent drawings of popular game’s characters

It is hoped that this process will enable the children to deconstruct the games they play regularly, so they think about the process of creating a computer game. I hope that they will be inspired to have a go at making their own in the club, sometime in the near future.

The children and I also made some club rules;
To have fun
When I shout ‘I want money’ they shout back ‘That’s what I want” and are then quiet [this is from their school play!]
I agreed to be;
Kind, respectful and encouraging to them
They agreed to be;
Kind, respectful and encouraging to me and each other. They also agreed that they should not swear or bully anyone.
We decided that there may be a need to add to these rules as we go along.

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It’s Back! Digital Afterschool Club starts in November

After a great first run at the end of the last school year the Digital Afterschool Club starts again at Elm Grove in November. The Club is for any child in Years 4, 5 or 6 and will run on Thursdays from 3.30 – 5.00pm.

There will be the usual mix of creative activities, showing children how to use digital gadgets to make stuff. This year’s theme will be games – with children working on films and animation about their favourite games, as well as starting to learn more about Scratch that will let them create their own computer games.

Please use this form to find out more, or request a place:

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Afterschool Club Showreel

The children who joined us for the first digital afterschool club were true pioneers, helping us create a new kind of afterschool club. Take a look at the showreel to see just some of the great stuff they got up to.

DNA Digital Afterschool Club Showreel from summer term 2012 on Vimeo.

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Week one…. and they’re off!

A dozen nine and ten year olds turned up at the first ever Digital Afterschool Club on Thursday 3 May and spent 90 minutes having lots of fun making avatars, building surveys and, um, recording their flatulence on an ipod…

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What will we do for ten weeks?

Vicky, Helen, Esther and I met today to continue a discussion started last week by Matt, Mick, Helen and I [we have a great crew on board, we just can’t seem to be in the same place at the same time]. This post outlines my notes about how we will run the sessions.

What we know so far is that the first workshops will start in May and will be designed for 20 Year 5 children – which means they’ll be about 10 years old. We discussed various great ideas and shared valuable lessons learned in various settings. We learned about psychogeography [ask Esther].

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How can we teach how to code when we don’t know how to do it ourselves?

screengrab of article on Observer websiteWe just had a great meetup to discuss the launch of the Digital Afterschool Club at Elm Grove School in May. Vicky, Helen, Esther and I reviewed various elements of the workshop plan that Esther has prepared – more about that in another post.

This post is about whether and how we can include coding in the workshops, which is prompted by a provacative article by John Naughton  in the Observer newspaper this week called Why All Our Kids Should be Taught to Code

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