Teaching games development: CPD with a plot twist

Teaching games development: CPD with a plot twist

TechPathways London's latest depth course offers face-to-face practical sessions and industry insight but also follow-up case studies to see the difference in the classroom

Women looking at computer
Credit: CC #WOCinTech Chat

In secondary classrooms, teachers face a challenge of how to meet the national curriculum requirements that “All pupils must have the opportunity to study aspects of information technology and computer science at sufficient depth to allow them to progress to higher levels of study or to a professional career” [1].


For some students, the GCSE computer science qualification, which from 2022 will only be assessed by exam, is not quite right. Teachers are looking for alternative qualifications.


One such qualification, which seems to be gaining popularity, particularly as it counts in the Progress 8 measure, is the Creative iMedia Cambridge National. This qualification has been around for a while but, along with other alternatives such as the BTEC First Award in IT and Creative technology, is being considered afresh since the withdrawal of the GCSE IT.


Within these creative technology qualifications, games development is a key strand which has not seen much focus in the past. Teachers have been asking for CPD in this area. So, we decided to develop a free TechPathways CPD course on games development with a focus on the iMedia qualification. The course has a broad content, making it also suitable for teachers delivering other qualifications.


Meet the games industry


This TechPathways course is a depth course, which means it combines face-to-face sessions, online learning and industry mentoring. Over the two face-to- face days educators will explore practical activities on how to design games as well as a ‘meet the industry’ session delivered by Bafta with presentations from leading games development companies on careers in the games industry. 


The second day will concentrate on implementing designs in Construct 3, a game-making software, with a focus on meeting the needs of the iMedia qualification. Overviews of different pedagogies to teach programming will be included, such as code reading, PRIMM, and using design.


In addition, the course is part of the official launch of the 2020 Bafta Young Game Designers Competition which will be celebrating its 10th anniversary with a week-long programme of events at Alexandra Palace.


Case studies


From research on what makes good CPD, a key element is that teachers should use their training in class [2]. As we all know, it’s far too easy to attend a course and then not change what we do. Given that, we have incorporated a case study element in the programme. This is not mandatory, but we hope teachers will engage with this opportunity. At Queen Mary University of London, we will support teachers to write up HOW they have used the CPD to make changes in their classrooms. We will then share these stories with the community (and through research).


We will use online sessions to discuss with participants how they can record what they have done in class and what the impact is on pupil outcomes.


At Queen Mary University of London, we are committed to supporting teachers to increase their subject knowledge in computer science, but more importantly to increase their confidence to deliver computing lessons. We hope by including case studies teachers can both share best practice and get more out of professional development.


  • The TechPathways Teaching Games Development for Secondary Schools depth course takes place on 1 and 2 October 2019 at Alexandra Palace.  It is FREE and open teachers, or educators in informal settings, who teach this topic to learners of ages 11 to 24. Find out more and book your place.



[1] https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/national-curriculum-in-england-computing-programmes-of-study/national-curriculum-in-england-computing-programmes-of-study#key-stage-4