Visit to BA (Hons) Games Design course, Uclan 28th March 2012

In a welcome diversion from our normal Tuesday afternoon GCSE Computing lessons, on 28th March – I took my Year 10 GCSE Computing class on a visit to Uclan to help judge some project presentations by 3rd Year students on the BA (Hons) Games Design degree course.

Although the games design course, might not be viewed as being directly relevant to the more technically focussed GCSE Computing course, my Year 10 students had previously voiced an interest in games design – not just games creation and programming, so this presented itself as an ideal opportunity to indulge their interests.

We were the guests of Bev Bush the course leader and her wonderful 3rd year students. There was a novel shift of roles during the visit, as this time my Year 10 pupils became the judges, rather than having their work judged, as they are more accustomed to. They told me after the visit that they particularly enjoyed the extra level of responsibility that this experience offered them.

As the games design students each took it in turns to pitch their games and app designs, my Year 10 students were asked to award marks based on specific criteria, for example, marketability. They were required to record their marks on judging sheets.

What was very clear was that the Year 10 GCSE Computing students were inspired by the imaginative and creative concepts that were being presented to them and approached the judging with a strong sense of maturity.

Now – next week for homework, I need to ask my GCSE Computing pupils to create the code to enable the games design students concepts to become a reality. đŸ™‚

Those of you who have experience of organising school trips will agree that they can be fraught with bureaucracy, from organising transport, producing risk assessments, writing letters for permission and obtaining medical forms. However, all of these are only burdensome when the trip offers little value to the students.

From the responses and feedback I received from my GCSE pupils – I am now convinced that the trip was definitely a valuable and worthwhile experience. I would recommend that teachers consider organising trips to their local universities and colleges to enable their pupils to experience future learning pathways that they may wish to consider, even if only to reach the conclusion “No, that’s not for me”

This is the second time recently that Bev Bush and her students have supported our activities to widen children’s understanding in the field of computing and interactive entertainment. Bev comes across as being incredibly passionate about what she does and it is clear that her enthusiasm has also infected her games design students, some of whom have had their designs recognised with awards and competition success.

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2 Comments Add yours

  1. I graduated from the course last year and highly recommend it for any prospective games designer/artist wanting to get into the field. All the tutors have a very successful background and life experience in the field. They’ve seen the best and worst of the industry and their passion is handed down to students throughout all three years from hour zero.

    These type of visits for younger students are great to see, it gives them a taster for them to see what working 40 hours a week can get you and what is actually needed to bring an idea to life. The course itself also really helps students get their ideas across in a clear, concise manner and that is useful for ANY job industry.

    With UK IT education getting a boot up the toosh recently along with government backed tax incentives do give the digital entertainment industry a much needed lease of life.

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  2. I was one of the students presenting that day and I can say It was very enjoyable day with the younger students. The work we do is all about entertaining and inspiring, so the feedback we got from both the judging sheets and their faces was very useful, even more so with the fact that many of our concepts are aimed at children/teens, who we do not get to show our idea’s to as much as we like,

    More of these visits to our course and many others could push the ambitions of many children higher, which will hopefully help them see past such things as the increased university fee’s, and encourage them to aim for a career that they are truly passionate about.

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