17 Jun, 2022
10 : 00
“Time for bed.”
“10 more minutes!”, a voice called from against a lit screen.
This may sound like a familiar exchange and some may even recognise this routine in their home. Although video games can have a negative stigma attached to them, continue reading to find out how two YCIS Shanghai students used their creativity and programming knowledge to develop ideas into reality.
Leading up to Yew Chung Yew Wah’s 90th Anniversary, the Fellows-in-Residence and Education Technology Department launched a student video game design and development contest under the theme of Outer Space. We challenged students to use their imagination, critical thinking skills, and logical reasoning in hopes of inspiring our young YCIS developers and entrepreneurs to put forward their best ideas.
Student projects were evaluated based on several factors:
🧩 Ease of access
🥳 Fun factor
The outcome gave us some out-of-this-world game designs and ideas. YCIS Shanghai Puxi's very-own Year 5 Ziming was awarded first place while his peer Sebastian in Year 4 won third place. We are delighted with all of our YCIS Shanghai participants and the efforts they have shown!
Question: What inspired you to develop your video game?
Ziming: I took inspiration from a book called ‘Space’. On one of the pages, it said that there were many rocks falling on the moon and planets, like Mars. I thought that I could make a game with rocks falling from space onto the moon and use the player to help target the rocks.
Sebastian: We learned about the possibility of spaceflight at school and I believe going into space is relatable to a lot of children, including myself. I am confident in designing games and I thought I could imagine a design that my friends and I could enjoy together.
Q: How long did it take to build your digital product?
Z: It took me 10 days to finish my game. I tried not to use outside sources to help me but I did get a lot of encouragement and advice from Mr Jones!
S: The research and design process took me about one month. I would spend time working on my idea afterschool and on weekends.
I am proud of myself because the final product took a long time and I overcame many obstacles fixing bugs in code. For example, I didn’t understand why my two programmable actions weren’t equating to anything. After consulting with different sources, I figured out the solution was to extend the time of the actions by adding a time interval variable in the code. With my mom's encouragement and Mr Jones’ support along the way, the long hours were worth it and I can improve in different areas next time!
Q: What would you like to do in the future?
Z: I would like to be a computer programmer.
S: I love being creative! I think creativity is the key to link dreams to reality. So, I would love to create and design more funny video games to play with my friends. Or, I would like to become a professional golfer.
YCIS Puxi Primary STEAM Coordinator Mr Jake Jones says, “I’m very proud of our students and enjoyed watching them build their games with creativity and not giving up when something wasn’t working. I look forward to even more participants from YCIS entering the competition next year, and testing out more great games!”
We also spoke with the boys’ co-teachers to get to know these students better:
“Ziming is a highly motivated and enthusiastic student who loves to challenge himself! His positive outlook towards learning is infectious and he can regularly be found encouraging and supporting his peers with a mathematical problem.”
YCIS Puxi Year 5 Co-teachers Ms Una Minogue and Ms Bella Pan
“Sebastian is a strong and thoughtful leader. He enjoys inspiring others. He works hard to solve problems and embodies our YCIS virtues in what he does. We’re very proud of him for designing and creating an imaginative video game.”
YCIS Puxi Year 4 Co-teachers Mr James Ilott and Ms Evelyn You
STEAM subjects are introduced in the Early Childhood Education (ECE) programme, starting with K2 for two-year-olds. Our youngest learners test their motor skills using iPads and start to understand programming and coding through floor maps and programmable robots.
In Primary, students continue to learn coding using more advanced tools as part of the schools' Education Technology (Edtech) curriculum. Students learn the visual programming language Scratch and the high-level C language used for microcomputers to help build a strong foundation for learning other digital languages.
YCIS Shanghai Secondary students have the chance to work with more complex programming languages, like Python, and the real-time 3D development platform Unity, which is a world leader in the video games industry and is used by many renowned companies like Google, Microsoft, and Uber.
A broad range of skills is needed in higher education and the workplace today and will be of even greater importance for the next generation. The YCYW education model provides opportunities for students to develop critical skills in all areas in-class and off-campus.