Programming Apps for the iPad
Students work together to create the concept of their game. In a way- having the students use no tech for this step in the process allows them to really focus on the system and design of their game. It also keeps them from going too far into a level of code they might not be prepared for when they start working with the program later on. The activity I usually do with students is to have them create a physical game to play with their classmates: such as a card game or board game. I will bring in multiple supplies and challenge them to use the supplies given.
2 Direct Instruction
After they complete their physical games the class goes through and comments on what has been created. What makes a playable game? What challenges make a game more entertaining? What is the purpose of each game? Game design can be investigated along with basic programming concepts. At this stage- it is useful to talk to students about dice being a random number generator. About cards being actors that will later be created in the software.
Before going into direct instruction a teacher should familiarize themselve with the coding environment of the application(s) they select.
3 Guided Practice
Using Game Salad: students translate their physical games into digital concepts.
Note: if Game Salad is too advanced there are other options a teacher can offer students such as Scratch, Google App Inventor, or Adobe Flash.
Before this step it is also a good idea to share past examples and showcase how the software works. Independent Practice takes a big step here as students will have to trouble shoot and investigate solutions to their coding needs.
4 Independent Practice
Khan Academy, Coursea, EdX, Scratch's webpage, Game Salad's webpage, etc. There are a variety of options for students to learn independently while the teacher works one on one to help students create their applications. Frequently students can watch YouTube tutorials, visit forum posts, etc, to help figure out what is needed to make their game work.
Students present their games to the class. If the teacher has iTunes publishing rights, this is a great time to show them how an app goes from classroom to the world. If not, all of the programming options above have ways to publish online or computer by computer.