Teaching coding in a purposeful way: Episode 5

Two weeks before students begin to submit their original video games they've been creating since Term 1, Year 6 teacher Ben Wynne shares a final update withTeacher, reflecting on his experience of being a mentor for this year's Australian STEM Video Game Challenge.

The Australian STEM Video Game Challenge is open to students in Australia in Years 5-12, and asks them to create their own playable video game either individually or as part of a team.

Earlier this year, students in his class split into groups and began creating their own original video games to enter into the challenge – a project they've been consistently working on ever since. Across five episodes for Teacher, Wynne has documented the successes and hurdles he's come across throughout the challenge.

As it all draws to a close with games being submitted to a judging panel from mid-July, Wynne says he's learned a lot of lessons in his second year as a mentor, and that it was a really valuable experience for him as a teacher.

‘I also found lots of good resources online that I was able to personally go through to improve my understanding of Scratch,' he says of the coding platform students used to bring their games to life. ‘And, by improving my understanding, then that improves my ability to help the kids troubleshoot their issues.'

For instance, he and his students used the sites CS First for step-by-step video tutorials on coding and Piskel for creating and animating characters in their games.

‘So, if you're looking at participating next year in the 2020 Challenge, my advice would be to start preparing now. Go do some of those tutorials yourself,' he shares.

‘Because it's important that we understand, and that we show the students that, you know, coding is not about just a one-off lesson. It's about using what they know to create bigger projects and using them in a purposeful way.'


Ben Wynne will be co-presenting at ACER’s Research Conference this August in Melbourne for the session ‘Can designing video games help students prepare for life in the 21st century?’

Visit the website for more information and to register.