Year 7 pupils went deep-sea digital diving this week, with an innovative educational computer game which involves programming the movements of a great whale. Yasemin Allsop, Lecuturer in Primary Education from University College London, kindly agreed to join our Computer Science class and introduce pupils to the Whale Game, a simple programme conceived as a fun way of getting children coding. Something dear to our heart at ELSS.
Mendeleev pupil Leilani Manyusa explains what the game was all about.
“There is a baby whale and you can programme it to teach it how to do things. You create loops, for example, if you want the whale to swim forward, creating a loop makes it easier than typing commands one at a time.
I liked that you have to figure out how to do things. For example, the game doesn’t tell you how to create a loop, you have to figure that out. I like also that you have to save the whale, so if it doesn’t have enough oxygen, you have to find a way to bring it to the surface.
It took a while to get into the game and the tutorial took too long. When I started it was kind of complicated, but when you get into the game then it becomes more understandable and fun.”
We are extremely grateful to Yasemin Allsop for taking the time to work with us. Her research focus is children’s thinking and learning when designing digital games. She is the founder and co- editor of an online magazine called ICT in Practice where educators from around the world share their experiences of using technology in education. She is also the co-editor of International Journal of Computer Science Education in Schools.
ELSS will take part in a study involving this game and some pupils will be given an opportunity to help game developers to develop the game further.