CLARKDALE., Miss. (WTOK) - Computer programming is becoming an increasingly important skill to have for grade school students. Eighth graders at Clarkdale Middle School are using what they’ve learned in class to create video games.
“It’s a really fun project for the kids,” says Katie Moffett, the cyber foundations 2 teacher at Clarkdale Middle School. “I’ve seen a lot of students get into it that weren’t really into this class beforehand, maybe weren’t really interested in just the general school subjects that they have, and now they’re really into this because it’s something different, it’s something they’re interested in rather than the core subjects.”
The students started learning how to make backgrounds and shapes and being gradually introduced to new techniques such as how to move the shapes and create different characters.
“They were able to build, bit by bit, their video games,” Moffett says. “So now they’re able to move characters on the page using keyboard input, they can press buttons on the keyboard, they can press buttons on their mouse, now the characters can run into each other and things will happen when they run into each other, and they know how to keep score on their video game.”
By making their own video games, students are given a whole new perspective on the use of computers.
“This is so important because students don’t realize that this is a career option for them, they see computer classes as, ‘well I’m going to learn how to type, I’m going to learn how to use Microsoft Word’, but it’s more than that,” Moffett says. “Using a computer is more than just the everyday tasks you have to do, they can make a career out of computer programming, out of gaming.”
Students we spoke to say creating the video games is a positive learning experience for them.
“I enjoyed making the video games because it challenged me as a student and I think it will help me grow throughout the year and into the ninth grade,” says Brooke Gibson.
The class has been working on video game creation since just before Thanksgiving. Once the unit is over in a couple of weeks, the students will create a new video game from scratch.