Brenda Trupp

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School

Instructional Technology, Overland Trail Middle School in Brighton, Colorado

How will I introduce Scalable Game Design in my school?

2013-2014

I will...

be giving 8th graders the opportunity to learn AgentSheets. AgentSheets was already bought by my district years ago and used by the teacher who had my job before me. I have been adding and deleting one unit every year. For 8th graders this year, I am deleting Scratch (giving this to 7th graders) and throwing in AgentSheets instead. My school is on a quarter schedule for Exploratory Classes -- Instructional Technology is included in this so I do not have gobs and gobs of time with my students; I only have 8 weeks. Students loved Scratch so I do not want to not use it at all; I only hope students feel the same about AgentSheets. I am undecided whether I will assign the Frogger or Journey project. I am hesitant about Frogger due to the very nature that I do not know AgentSheets very well yet. I plan on creating a couple more games to make everything more smooth. I am very much into creating video tutorials for every unit I teach so I feel as though creating one for AgentSheets is a must -- it would be out of character for me otherwise.


I do not know my schedule yet. I am unsure of whether I will teacher 8th graders first or 7th graders -- when I find out, that will be the schedule I follow with teaching AgentSheets as well. 

2014-2015


For the 2014-2015 school year, I plan on teaching AgentSheets by way of the Frogger project exactly the same as last year with a couple additions. Last year . . . " I will...

be giving 8th graders the opportunity to learn AgentSheets. AgentSheets was already bought by my district years ago and used by the teacher who had my job before me. I have been adding and deleting one unit every year. For 8th graders this year, I am deleting Scratch (giving this to 7th graders) and throwing in AgentSheets instead. My school is on a quarter schedule for Exploratory Classes -- Instructional Technology is included in this so I do not have gobs and gobs of time with my students; I only have 8 weeks. Students loved Scratch so I do not want to not use it at all; I only hope students feel the same about AgentSheets. I am undecided whether I will assign the Frogger or Journey project. I am hesitant about Frogger due to the very nature that I do not know AgentSheets very well yet. I plan on creating a couple more games to make everything more smooth. I am very much into creating video tutorials for every unit I teach so I feel as though creating one for AgentSheets is a must -- it would be out of character for me otherwise.


I do not know my schedule yet. I am unsure of whether I will teacher 8th graders first or 7th graders -- when I find out, that will be the schedule I follow with teaching AgentSheets as well. "

In addition to the prior plan, I plan on leaving more time for planning. Last year due to time constraints, I just had the students jump in to Frogger full speed. It worked out okay, but I would like to supply all students with a planning sheet and require that they design their game on paper before going to the computer to design the game. I would like to see the difference between last year and this year.

I expect to have issues with cognitively low students as well as students where English is a second language or not a language at all -- we have quite a few of all of them. In that case, I will supply a different activity for them, and possibly use Scratch instead.

Project Journal: 2013

Day 1, Monday:

AM-

I definitely find myself being challenged. This post and the PM post are definitely connected. I have found that my struggles with math and science that I have had my entire life are showing through. I also find myself wanting students to find a different ways of saying “I’m no good at that”, but I also understand where they are coming from. Naturally and on paper, I am an English dork so I can relate to the students who think they are no good at one subject or another; however, the very fact that I am completing these tasks on my own makes me realize I can do it, it is just taking me a little longer than most.

PM-

I am seeing a lot of similarities between Scratch and AgentSheets; however, things are named differently. For example, each ‘agent’ is called a ‘sprite’ in Scratch. The one big difference that I am noticing is that AgentSheets is much more detailed and labor intensive. I feel like it will definitely require an adjustment period for me. The one thing I am struggling with are all the different windows that must be open while using AgentSheets -- Scratch only has one window which is organized into several different windows. I am just naturally and unnaturally, depending on who you are, a person who must have everything clean and organized. AgentSheets is colliding ever so slightly with my OCD. I do know that I do like change and learning new things so AgentSheets will just require some time for me to adjust. But I did end the day in a successful state as far as everything goes before the SuperFrog. The way in which the morning’s lessons were explained were far more beneficial and coherent for myself and my table mates. Unfortunately, we were unable to follow along as the AgentSheets “language” we were taught in the morning was not utilized. #software #layout #adjustment #sgd #AgentSheetsJargon

Day 2, Tuesday:

AM-

I was unable to make it to the CU Campus today, but I was able to complete the necessary components at home. The SGD Wiki is absolutely amazing for when you are “not there” -- this seems to be beneficial for people in my situation today who are unable to be present, because how amazing of a tool is this for students who get behind for whatever reason. Thank you for the Wiki! I am wondering if the PowerPoints that were presented at the SGD are available online, just in case we which to reference these in the future?


PM-

I found The Journey game creation very simple, or much easier than The Frogger creation. I am feeling this way as I am trying to put myself in the shoes of my students. The student population of the school I teach at is lower socio-economically so I am always trying to think of how the students will feel when handed a project. On the other hand, I have been surprised time and time again by the students who are maybe expected to perform at a lower level; when they get to my class they “rock it” and excel in my class when other students who are expected to perform high to do. I have two reading disabilities so I understand how computer technology can push other parts of your brain to think -- especially the parts of your brain you may not use in Social Studies, Math, Language Arts, etc. Frogger seems a bit complex in the way we learned it on Monday; I could teach it with some alterations and modifications depending on the type of class I have. Then again, classes have surprised me in the past. I will try anything once.

Day 3, Wednesday:

AM-

Computational Thinking Patterns are something I understand, but do not know by heart -- I found myself looking them up time and time again during the Thinking Patterns Jeoprady. Even though there came a point during the Jeopardy game where my team did a lot more listening and observing than actually playing, I gained a lot from listening to other people's justifications about why they thought what pattern was in a certain video. This activity did help a lot.

Going over debugging helped, but I also feel like I won't really get good at it until I'm in the moment and I have to debug a student's game -- I always do better when I'm thrown into a situation and have to act on it. I learn better from doing independently and repeatedly instead of from watching and doing it once.

Video #1

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These are the Computation Thinking Patterns I see in this video:

  • Collison - Each times the actor shows how each animal eats their food, specifically for the rhino, he barrels into the "table" or collides with it.
  • Multiple Needs - Each "animal" knows they need food so they go for their food.
  • Generate - The side of the screen automatically generates a new "animal". The name of which animal is being imitated is also always generated in the upper-middle of the screen.


Video #2

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These are the Computation Thinking Patterns I see in this video:

  • Push - This occurs when Marcel tries to lift the crayon.
  • Diffusion: I see this when the dog is sniffing out Marcel.
  • Pull: Marcel is pulling around his "dog" Allen and Allen follows.


PM-

I enjoyed breaking up into groups as I was able to jump (no pun intended) into the Frogger group and ask questions and voice my concerns. Mark was very helpful in pushing me through the idea of Frogger and making me more confident that I will be able to facilitate students in learning Frogger. Thanks Mark!

Whoa, on the paperwork for the research stuff! Hey, I have a secret though -- I really like paperwork and this mumbo jumbo, because I am really good at being organized. There is a lot of stuff to remember and complete for this research assignment, but this type of work are pebbles compared to the giant rocks I deal with day to day. There is a lot of stuff that the teacher who had my job before me, Ms. Anna (Holen) Otto, left behind when she moved on to a new job -- now I can actually use all of these resources to benefit me and my students. In fact, Anna has done some of the grunt work for me -- for instance, AgentSheets is already approved with our Tech Department and they "like" it, what a huge hurdle I will not have to jump over. Yay!

Day 4, Thursday (did not attend):

Day 5, Friday (did not attend):

Day 6, Saturday (did not attend):

Contact Information

Brenda J. Trupp, M. Ed.

btrupp@sd27j.org

exclamationed@gmail.com


Instructional Technology

Overland Trail Middle School

455 North 19th Avenue

Brighton, CO 80601


720.505.4042

303.655.4042


www.tinyurl.com/mstrupp