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04 May 2010
Student Projects Get Underway at OCRI

Today Dan and I ventured forth again into our adopted high-school to see how the students were getting on with their projects. Last week they had all presented their game ideas in front of ourselves, the rest of the class and a representative from OCRI. A week later, I was interested to see if they still had the enthusiasm they’d shown in the presentations.This session was interesting because it was the first time I’d seen any of the students do any actual programming. So far all the sessions have been ‘lead up’, allowing us to explain the goals of the project and the specifics of the hardware they’d be developing for (OLPC’s XO laptop). This week we finally got started on the project proper and it’s this part that I’m really interested in.

I was pleasantly surprised that all of the groups had started out in different ways. The first pair that we spoke to had jumped right into their astronomy-based game and wanted to know how to make a sprite move in a circle. This required a brief maths lesson from the teacher as he explained the equations for finding the x and y co-ordinates of an orbiting object based on the distance from the center of rotation  (the Sun in this case) and the angle the object was at.

One of the other teams had started straight out with designing their interface in photoshop. It was therefore the prettiest (albeit least functional for the time being) of the games at this early stage. Fortunately,because REAL Basic is a visual editor, there’s no harm in throwing design elements at the canvas first and then hooking up the logic later.

Another group hadn’t done any coding at all. They had decided to theme their game around the environment, concentrating on endangered species. Rather than tack this element onto the end of their game production they had instead decided to do the research required up front and when I saw them they were busy looking species of exotic birds on Wikipedia.

There are other groups in our class, but these three were the ones that I spent the most time with today. The range of different approaches to the project is interesting as since university I’ve not been part of a project from the get-go besides my own personal one-man efforts. I think all of the student teams have made a good start and I’m looking forward to heading back next week and seeing how they’re progressing.


Thanks for reading! If you like my writing, you may be interested in my book: Healthy Webhook Consumption with Rails

David at 21:51

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