The Philosophy, Art, and Social Influence of games
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Games as teaching tools for programming

by Ack Thu Apr 11, 2013 12:54 pm

Hey guys, read an article about a project from the University of California to use a game to teach the basics of Java programming.

Apparently how it works is you use programming code to create and cast spells in the game. The students ended up getting a group of 40 girls aged 10 to 12 to play, and after an hour they were grasping the basics of Java programming. These guys intend to release the game for free online as an education tool available to schools. I'm quite interested in seeing how this progress, first because I like the idea of using games in such a way, and second because I'm terrible at programming.
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Re: Games as teaching tools for programming

by saturnfan Thu Apr 11, 2013 1:24 pm

Did you ever read the book "reality is broken"? I wasn't convinced by all its arguments, but it was interesting look at how games could be used promote job skills, solve social problems, etc.
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Re: Games as teaching tools for programming

by Cronozilla Fri Apr 12, 2013 2:34 am

I think it'd be more important to build a game based off programming logic rather than the specific syntactical issues that arise. The hardest part about teaching this stuff is getting people's brains to wrap around the underlying concepts ... language specificity is almost non-important in comparison.

Still very cool, though.

I had an idea awhile ago of a color coded puzzle game that could also teach circuitry ... I could never figure out a really good way to make some of the operations result in really distinct colors, though.
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Re: Games as teaching tools for programming

by jinx Sun Apr 14, 2013 3:03 am

I've seen a few of these come and go throughout the years. I think the last one I saw was "Code Hero". I agree with Cronozilla that logic is far more important than the specific syntax of that language. In-fact I learned on a silly Social MMO call Furcadia when I was growing up. There were also several flash games I played that built upon the logic. I can't remember the name of the game, but the point was to get the robot from point A to point B using functions/methods. I didn't even realize I was learning programming.

I haven't seen the video, as I'm at work right now, so I can't say much about it. I'll definitely check it out when I get home though. One of my little brothers is getting into robotics, because he's become so infatuated with Redstone in Minecraft. Another one of my brothers has taken an interest in programming because he wants to make mods. I believe using games as a learning tool can help a lot of kids grasp subjects they would normally have a hard time with. However, it still has to feel like a game, and not like a chore.
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