I’m doing this because it is Computer Science Education Week from Dec 5 – 11 with a focus on the ‘Hour of Code‘. (It is also the week when I have to take my ‘Lab’ to the classrooms, while the computer lab is being used for NWEA evaluations.)
The ‘Hour of Code’ folk have added new tutorials featuring, Star Wars. Something my students are focusing on for an Image Manipulation class this week. It helps to have Kathleen Kennedy (seen in the video below), producer of The Force Awakens explain how programming is very much a part of movie production today.
Students will specifically learn to program a game in which BB8 must be sent on missions to recover objects and deliver messages.
In case you are interested, Hour of Code has several social media outlets, including
• Twitter https://twitter.com/codeorg
• Facebook https://www.facebook.com/Code.org
• Instagram https://instagram.com/codeorg
• Tumblr https://blog.code.org
For the past few weeks I’ve been having a blast (and hopefully my students too), using Star Wars as material for classes on image manipulation, and color correction whether it is in Microsoft Word or Photoshop. The latter, for instance is a forthcoming 6th grade class that will be continued this year as well.
Students pick their favorite Star Wars image from Google, and the fun begins.
- They learn to copy and paste (the keyboard shortcuts as well as the right-mouse commands).
- The learn to layer an image, and color correct it – as in the example on the right
- They learn to delete a background color using the much-ignored ‘Set transparency Color’ tool
- They learn how to tweak the ‘saturation’ of the image, and what that means – and says. Or how to re-color an image for a specific effect.
- It’s a good way to introduce ‘layers’ before we get to Photoshop.
Star Wars is also helps open the door to other topics and discussions about space.
Over the past few weeks, my 5th graders are working on The Moons of Mars – a PowerPoint, specifically aimed at understanding animation paths and orbits. I’m not a big fan of PowerPoint, but it’s a great canvas on which they could understand the purpose of animation, beyond the obvious wow factor.
I am now considering using Star Wars as a backdrop for a class on Digital Storytelling. Perhaps an animated cartoon strip with voice-overs matching the speech bubbles. I can see a lot of storm trooper effects, and tricks using the lovable BB8.