Education and Programming

Over the weekend I’ve been thinking about the education system in the U.K. for programming.  A quick search of BECTA and the BBC’s ICT help shows that education at pre-16’s is designed for getting the next generation understanding what a computer is and how it can be used.  It is very broad and the only section which gets close to how a computer is programmed is the “Control and Measurement” section.  This is very poor when I compare it to what I was able to learn at school when I was 14 (back in 1984!)

Stepping away from computers into Design & Technology there is a section on Electronic Logic which is a lot more useful for budding programmers.  Looking at science, in the Additional Science (AQA) there is a useful section on Forces and Motion that is great for games programming.

Lastly, I discovered something called DiDA, the Diploma in Digital Applications – equivalent to 4 GCSEs.  Looking at the relationship between DiDA and GCSEs shows that a “Level 1 Distinction” or “Level 2 Pass” is a GCSE grade C, and a “Level 2 Distinction” is equivalent to GCSE grade A*.

In the Unit Content, they talk about “Unit 5 – Games Authoring“.   This is a very recent addition but there is a draft specification and it is being piloted this year (from Sept 2008).   Reading through the draft, I see that it is game designer/producer training that is being offered.  Obviously the pupils will need to draw upon other skills to help them with this course.

Oh, and here is the reading list:

Jason Darby, Make Amazing Games in Minutes (Charles River
Media, 2005) ISBN-10: 1584504072
Jason Darby, Game Creation for Teens (Delmar, 2008) ISBN-10:
Jason Darby, Picture Yourself Creating Video Games (Delmar,
2008) ISBN-10: 1598635514
Jacob Habgood, Mark Overmars, The Game Maker’s Apprentice:
Game Development for Beginners (Apress, 2006) ISBN
Nanu Swamy and Naveena Swamy, Basic Game Design & Creation
for Fun and Learning, Charles River Media, 2006, ISBN
Andrew Rollings, Ernest Adams, On Game Design, New Riders
Publishing, 2003, ISBN 1592730019

It makes me sick.  From Amazon’s description: “Make Amazing Games in Minutes introduces the game creation process to the aspiring game developer with no experience or programming ability.”  I hope none of the readers of this book expect to get a job!

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