Digital technologies class collaborates on game designs

The Game Design Competition 2016 saw two games from Pakuranga College become highly commended. Here's how the teaching and learning in a digital technologies class unfolded.

It’s lunchtime as Head of Digital Technologies Charlie Smith leads the way into a classroom where students are busily programming and sharing ideas. Charlie and fellow teacher Tyne Crow explain there’s an unofficial code club in action.

The two teachers are just as keen, demonstrating a newly-purchased virtual reality set, while they explain where game design fits into their work.

Charlie says the Game Design Competition was a good fit with their Year 10 class, in which students work on game design. The need for collaboration fitted with the department’s teaching direction.

“We had tried working in groups in previous terms. It’s a real world skill they should be able to develop.  We got them to think about different roles they’d take on within the group, whether that was a programmer or art person working on level design. We got them working in industry-standard ways.”

Deputy principal Billy Merchant says the coding involved in game design and app development are becoming essential skills for digital careers.

“It wasn’t that long ago that these skills were taught only in tertiary institutions to a small niche of students; now we have Year 9 and Year 10 students producing commercial grade digital solutions at school.”

Watch the teacher interview