My Year 8 (Grade 7) students have a topic this year entitled
“How do you make a User Guide?”
The objective of the unit is for students to have create a User Guide using a specific programme and with a specified target audience.
Last year I used the programme Lego Digital Designer. It’s a free programme that is relatively easy to learn (Year 8s had no problem). Students have to create a user guide for Year 3 (Grade 2) students to show them how to design a basic model. The Years 3s will test and give feedback on the Year 8s work.
The students have to learn how the programme works, as I show them very little of how things work, they are relatively simple. As they learn how to use it they have to be thinking about the problems/issues they encountered. Then using screen shots they have to create a guide for the Year 3s of a simple model (car/house etc). Students have to work on manipulating imported screen shots (crop/size/format) as well as think about the level and style of their language, and how to link their words with the pictures (e.g. adding arrow shapes).
However this year, as I found out about another similar (free) programme, Scalextric Track Designer I will also give the students the option of either programmes. This programme also offers a 3D perspective of your work, and for you to decide which parts will be added so it is similar to the Lego programme although here one designs a track for toy racing cars.
So the Year 8s can give me feedback on which is their preferred programme, and why, as well as them receiving feedback from younger students on their actual work.