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Computer games masterclass for sixth formers

 Sixth Form ICT students from The Priory City of Lincoln Academy visited the University of Lincoln’s Computer Science department for a "masterclass" in Computer Games Design.

The two sessions, run by Dr Duncan Rowland (Reader in Cultural Computing) and Dr Patrick Dickinson (Senior Lecturer in the School of Computer Science), had been designed to give the students some experience in games design and computer programming.

During the first session, students worked with a Raspberry Pi. This was the first time the majority of the students had used these devices, but they were all successful in accessing and changing the coding for a variety of games that had been pre-installed for them.

From changing the colours and shapes of bricks in a Tetris-style game, to altering the size and movement of characters in other games, it was the first time most of the students had seen any code like this.

 The sixth formers, accompanied by Miss Robinson and Mr Ginty, were taught some basic commands using Python programming language to access and copy files on their Pi, and were provided with eBooks to help them learn to construct programmes themselves. 

The University generously allowed the students to keep the Raspberry Pi’s and accessories that they had been using so that they could continue to experiment and learn, on the condition that they got in touch with the University if they managed to create anything!

A second session, a week later, was more hands-on, and didn’t involve using the computers.  The sixth formers worked with students at the University to see how the first stages of computer games design happen, using paper and modelling movement of objects.  It was an eye-opener to see the importance of these stages of design in the games-making process.

All of the students enjoyed the sessions and got a lot from both of the days.  The Academy and the University hope to hold more visits in the future to help students experience even more different aspects of ICT. 

    The Priory Federation of Academies, Lincoln