Animation, Digital Effects & Game Design: First-day handout, 2014-2015 presentation

Letter to parents and students

Teacher Introduction

Hello! My name is Justin Robertson, and I am ISM’s teacher of IB Computer Science, Computer Programming and Animation, Digital Effects & Game Design. I graduated from the University of London with a Master’s degree in Computer Science and worked as a software developer for ten years before getting my teaching diploma in Information and Communications Technology in 2004. My last position was as Director of IT at the British International School of Istanbul, and prior to that I was Director of IT at The Hall School in London.

In this brief letter I’ve tried to provide a flavour of what to expect from the Animation, Digital Effects & Game Design course this year, but if you have any questions, at any time, please drop me an email at

What is Animation, Digital Effects & Game Design?

Animation, Digital Effect and Game Design is a course that explores the creative side of Information Technology. Using the standards of the IT curriculum, this course is designed to explore the core skills of Creativity, Collaboration, Research, Reflection, Digital Citizenship and Presentation of Learning. Students will explore the way animation is made and applied effectively to produce interesting and innovative project work. In studying Digital Effects, students will have the opportunity to build on video clips, create stand-alone effects and apply them meaningfully to meet their project goals. Game Design is a more challenging element of the course in which students will learn some of the fundamentals of programming while using editors to create unique games of their own design. Interwoven into the course structure is a focus on the practical application of skills and knowledge, along with the practice of good digital citizenship. This course, while challenging, offers a differentiated approach for students of varying skill sets and interests.

Do students need any prior knowledge?

It is expected that students will at least have had some experience using a computer but otherwise no prior knowledge is required. The course caters to all levels from absolute beginner to experienced poweruser.

How will students be graded?

This year at ISM we have made a number of changes to our assessment system and these have been outlined in an email to all parents from David Toze. In this course, students will use self-assessment to generate their own sets of performance targets for project work. There is no formal exam and there will be no tests or quizzes.

What is your teaching style?

In this course I will be much more of a facilitator than an instructor. There is such a wide array of software platforms that students can choose from that in many cases their knowledge will be greater than mine. I will of course ensure that students stretch themselves, whatever their initial competence level, so that they make good progress in developing new skills, and at the same time I will engender a collaborative, supportive and friendly culture in line with ISM’s values.

What are your expectations of students?

The key expectations are that students:

  • Be proactive in their learning
  • Help each other
  • Reflect on their personal strengths and weaknesses
  • Make a reasonable effort in every lesson

Each piece of work will require an accompanying online portfolio entry demonstrating learning through the course.

What equipment do students need?

None. Students generally prefer to use their own laptops but since every class takes place in a computer lab, and all computers in the labs have the requisite software installed, this is not a requirement.

When are tutorials?

Like all teachers, I will be available in my room (1082) from 2:30-2:50pm on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday for advice or discussion.

What is the course blog for?

I use my blog frequently in my other courses such as Computer Programming and IB Computer Science because they are more prescriptive and require dissemination of more study materials. In this course, however, students will generate their own portfolios and I envisage that those sites will be the best means of keeping track of students’ activity on the course.

Is there homework?

No, although students may be asked to work in their own time finish off late projects.

I hope that provides a useful overview of the course and answers a few basic questions. If you have any other queries, please do not hesitate to contact me at


Justin Robertson
Computer Science
International School Manila

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