|Puzzled? Read on...|
But, once I had my desire under control, I went back, contextualized what was being said and realized it was a deal less frightening than it sounds...
Now I suspect the Government were well aware how the document would be received as they 'launched' their Year of Code some days ago, to howls of derision and well-deserved irritation at the 'seasy-I-can-learn-it-in-a-day shtick.
So what's missing from the document? Much sense of audience, purpose, meaning and cultural context that's what. Oh, and maybe fun too... Once those ingredients are added we can see that coding, like media, really is a form of literacy and, as John Potter points out in this excellent post
In the years to come, I think it will be important that coding is connected to
wider media culture and to media production
|Green Flag re/starts. Arrow keys navigate. 2 levels.|
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Part of a transmedia mystery story - click the link to "Who am I?" in the sidebar - the narrative was intended to teach 9-13 ICT students (audience) some of the principles of online safety; especially secure passwords (purpose).
The protagonist has just had a threatening email and a puzzling phone message. Upset, he goes out into the garden to calm down and think what to do. The game leads him through two mazes, in the first he cannot control his speed and in the second he must negotiate a winding path without stepping on the grass. He is rewarded, when successful, by a clue which will take him to the next part of the story. The maze game was intended as an analogue for his state of mind. His increasing self-control leads him to the next stage (meaning). The maze format is familiar to students as a problem to be overcome (cultural context). The over-arching, though not explicit theme, was that stories can be told across a range of media.
|Paintball Gove. Flag starts. Mouse moves.Space shoots.|
I was working with Year Eights (13-ish) to develop their skills using variables I gave them some basic code for a shoot'em up game with a scoring system. To demonstrate the way that the code could be remixed I'd put an image of my head 'inside' a computer. I'd added paint splats and sound effects and called the game Brookvirus. A fellow teacher dropped in and, after watching my demonstration, suggested Michael Gove (the UK Education Secretary) would make a better subject - Gove had made one of his exasperating pronouncements that day (don't ask, I've lost count).
May I suggest, that if playing this gives you not a single scintilla of satisfaction, try sharing the game with a UK teacher friend.
At least they'll understand the cultural context OK.
***For a more rigorous, but very readable, exploration of issues raised in this post do see: