The responsibilities of leading an entire school of students on their digital journey pushed me to be very thoughtful about how students spend time in the technology lab. I didn't want my student to simply play video games, but rather to develop important skills that would enhance their understanding, and provide them with multiple ways to demonstrate their knowledge. I also wanted to expose my students to various digital career choices. This caused me to examine the content I as already teaching - what were the benefits of students learning true coding languages? I wanted to know if it was worth our time. This led to my prototype: Digital Reality - a website dedicated to supporting teachers, parents, and students who wanted to strengthen their computer coding skills.
Logo for Game On
I wanted to keep my logo simple with clean lines. I generally prefer a black and white logo because I think it looks very classic, and also because I happen to know that most teachers have little access to color printing. I decided if teachers wanted to print anything from my website, using a black and white logo would look nice regardless of their access to a color printer. You can also see how my logo changed as my project focus changed.
As I continued to work on this project, I turned my focus toward my students and their needs. I understood the value of having powerful computer skills, and the importance of developing a strong computer science program. Many of my students enjoyed learning to code. They loved creating and building websites, but I wanted to focus on the ones that weren't immediately drawn in or didn't see the value in building their technology skills. This process led me to think about student engagement and ways to increase it.
In my first days of design, I was contemplating building a website to support teachers, students and parents on their own computer science journey. The chart above is part of that process. I've since those days shifted toward gamify my classroom, which has resulted in a different plan altogether. The image below is a screenshot of my class website where students go to access information about their progress in the game. It is a work in progress, and I am frequently adjusting the design of the web pages for aesthetics and clarity. You can visit the website in full at TechLab17.com
This led me to think about the types of things students get excited about and video games immediately came to mind. "If only I could make the classroom a giant video game," I thought. "Students would never want to quit working if it meant they leveled up."