Students in Computer Science and iMedia have been asking for a lunchtime club where they can learn how to make 3d games. This term I’m launching an Indie Game Dev Club for students who want to design and make high quality 3d content using free tools.
The club will teach students how to use:
Blender to create 3d objects
GIMP to create and edit textures and graphics
Audacity to create and edit sounds and music
Unity to put the game assets all together
MonoDevelop to write the C# scripts to control the game
The idea is for students to work in groups to design, create, test and market their own apps and games to raise money for good causes.
The first complete project to come out of the game dev club is Roll-a-dice-3D which lets you roll as many dice as you like, with lots of different types of dice featured.
There are hundreds of apps already out there that let you simulate rolling a die or multiple dice but I wanted to have an example project that students could adapt that builds on the best features of each of them.
This term in Computing Y8s have been looking at the ways that computers can store, manipulate and display images. Amongst other things, we’ve been using BBC micro:bits to create images, animations and games.
One thing we didn’t get time to look at this term was the data representation of sound.
Maplin (the people who sell all sorts of electronic gadgets and maker kit) have launched a competition where you have to use a BBC micro:bit to create a musical instrument so if anyone’s keen on experimenting over the Easter holidays you can have a lot of fun and possibly win £1,000 worth of gadgets.
This is my entry to the competition, to try to win the maker bundle to share out as prizes at the STEM club I run on Monday lunchtimes at Fulford School, York.
The idea is pretty simple: the latest version of micropython for a micro:bit allows you to write code that will get your micro:bit speaking. You can change the pitch of the speech to make it sound like it’s singing and you can change the speed of the speech to make each word last more or less time.
The code below hooks up the built-in accelerometer to the pitch and speed so that you can tilt your micro:bit to get it singing.
I’ve coded in a series of random Easter messages but you can change the text on line 10 if you want to get it singing your own lyrics.
The singing works in the simulator on create.withcode.uk as long as you’re using chrome, firefox or edge. Sadly, I haven’t made it work in Internet Explorer yet – you can download the audio it generates but it wont let you play it automatically.
Have fun, and see what you can create! But if you use my code and win the £1,000 prize I’ll expect my share of the goodies!
In Computing at KS3 in England, students have to learn how images can be stored and manipulated using binary data.
Pupils should be taught to:
…understand how instructions are stored and executed within a computer system; understand how data of various types (including text, sounds and pictures) can be represented and manipulated digitally, in the form of binary digits
This can be a tough part of the curriculum to cover in the limited time available to most schools but it can also be a really exciting way of bridging the gap between the Computer Science and iMedia / IT facets of the course.
In order to follow up from a series of lessons using Photoshop to create and manipulate high quality graphics, I wanted students to be able to understand how the images that they’d just created were stored on a computer.
There are some excellent ‘unplugged’ resources out there where students can see how simple images can be represented by binary data but I wanted Y8 students to be able to write, edit and debug some simple python code that showed them how computers store and process images.
There are two main ways that computers use binary data to represent images. This blog post details how you can use free web based tools to get students to explore how computers can represent and manipulate both bitmap and vector images.
The next page gives some activity ideas for getting students to understand how vector images work.