The Computing curriculum’s stated aim is to equip pupils with the skills “to understand and change the world”. But why stop there, when the rest of the universe is in danger?
In the Doctor and the Dalek game, the Doctor and his Dalek companion must work together to find the ‘Orb of Fates’ before the Sontarans, Cybermen and Daleks get to it! The game was created by the BBC (along with Somethin’ Else) as part of their ‘Make it Digital’ campaign.
The game includes a number of ‘challenges’, in which the Doctor programs the Dalek using sequences of instructions, selection, repetition and variables. For example, the ‘repeat’ command can be used to climb stairs efficiently, and the ‘if’ command can be used to decide when to stun enemies.
Code Club worked with the BBC on these in-game challenges, to ensure that they provided a real opportunity to learn and apply key programming skills. The BBC were great to work with, and it was clear at every stage of the game’s development that their key focus was to teach programming. The programming elements feel like an integral part of the game, and not just an add-on. To illustrate this, they have also created a teacher pack which explains each of the programming constructs, along with examples and projects for further study.
All of this means that the game is a great place for children to start programming, before moving on to graphical-based programming languages like Scratch.