Before I write about my morning with the P1 pupils at Market Place Primary I thought I should share some useful information about Little Big Planet on the PS3 in case others are or intend using it in their own lessons.
The first major hurdle to overcome is the internet access issues within school. Lets be clear, the PS3 does not need to connect to school file servers or need virus checking in place (are there actually any PS3 viruses? Doubt it.) so asking your friendly neighbourhood technician for internet access should be a simple case of providing the proxy IP address or wireless access key. There is no danger of it interferring with the school network. My tip is get this request in the very first day you get your PS3 as in my case the request was passed from pillar to post and…. rejected. I’ve logged the same request again after some in-depth discussion with my technican, but am still to hear. Keep fighting though as it really does make your and your pupils’ lives easier.
Whether you manage to get school-based internet access, you NEED to upgrade your PS3 to the latest firmware (3.1 at present) AND also upgrade Little Big Planet to the highest version as the supplied disc will be v1. The latest update to LBP is v1.21 (codenamed Leerdammer) and allows backup and import of individual levels created in My Moon. It makes transfer of levels between multiple PS3s simple as pupils can be responsible for saving a copy of their current work straight to USB Pen Drive at the end of the lesson. These current versions can then be duplicated onto all PS3s within minutes so all development environments are consistent for the next time you use Little Big Planet in class.
The Little Big Planet upgrade also solved a worrying problem of corrupt save data. The reason for this was that one PS3 had been upgraded to v1.07 of Little Big Planet and this made the save data sizes fractionally different (3640k vs 3647k). The result? Some nail biting moments as I adjusted level creation arrangements so one pupil was working on a single PS3 each period – took a lot longer to progress this way and definitely affected the morale and collaboration between my students. However as soon as all PS3s were upgraded the previously corrupt save data was miraculously restored!
One very interesting addition to the v1.21 update to Little Big Planet is the ability to collaborate on level creation over the Internet. Now THERE’S a fantastic possibility – we could be looking at a single level in Inverurie Academy with 4 S5/6 students adding elements while the P1 pupils at Market Place Primary watch or – even better – build parts of the same level at the same time!
Which brings me back to my problem. We’ll need internet access at both schools for that…