Little Big Planet: Inverurie Academy visit to Market Place Primary School (15th December 2009)

Today (15th December) my students visited Market Place Primary School for the first time to introduce themselves and the PS3 Little Big Planet project to Mrs Allen’s P1 class. We were accompanied on our visit by Gemma Pirie and Jonathan Cordiner from the Aberdeenshire Glow Team who wanted to see how the project is developing.

Only two out of seven “festival” levels had been completed successfully prior to the visit but a number technical issues reduced the class time available to the students (see last post). Also I feel it was good for my students to see the impact these unforseen problems had on their level creation.

After setting up two working PS3s (a technical issue with a missing TV remote control meant we couldn’t use all three) I surveyed the class on their knowledge of games consoles and computer games. Surprisingly a small number of P1 children had already used a PS3 and one had played Little Big Planet at home. A greater number of children regularly used/owned Nintendo DS.

The P1 class watched the introduction to Little Big Planet as I thought this would be a good way to hook their attention and begin to immerse them in the world of Little Big Planet and Sackboy. I used the fact that Stephen Fry also voices the Five cartoon Pocoyo to find out the names of some of the children and to introduce my class to them. I selected two P1 children to help me navigate the LBP introduction section and found that the wireless controllers were excellent for keeping the group settled. We used three with each group but LBP allows up to seven controllers to be used at once.

We then split the P1 class into groups of 7/8 to allow each child maximum time to explore the levels the S5/6 students created. Each group had 15-20mins playing some of the levels created by pupils. The S5/6 students handled each group differently, steadily becoming more confident in organising and communicating with the P1 children. This relationship building will become extremely useful when the P1 class are the clients next term.

As all S5/6 students were working with the PS3 groups there was no time to gather instant feedback on their festival levels. On reflection some pupils could have spent time in discussion with the first two groups but the class plan to gather feedback early in the new year.

On return to Inverurie Academy the S5/6 students were asked evaluate their morning at Market Place Primary School. Here are some of their comments:

“it was fun showing the pupils how fun the game was it was a bit frustrating though as they couldn’t really work out how to play the game but when they started to get the hang of it it was really fun”

“i was surprised how many of them had already played the PS3 or other games consoles, the managed to play our made levels quite easily and understood the controls, of course with a little bit of help”

“it was frustrating when one person went to the left and the others went ahead then the person going left would die and the game wouldn’t end as the remaining person kept flying upwards”

“it was good because now we know what difficulty we should make the levels and we know if they are capable enough to complete them. we also know now that they cannot press more than a couple of buttons at a time”

“i think they liked the fact that the levels were made for them. one problem was that they couldn’t use the control stick and X button at the same time”

Already I feel that this year’s games design project in association with Market Place Primary is more successful than last year and we haven’t really started yet! I’ll comment more on the accomplishments of this visit aligned against CfE outcomes in my next blog post as well as the plan for January. The exciting part is that my students are only now beginning their Applied Multimedia unit and that means much more time is available to them to produce beautiful, well crafted, groundbreaking work.