Posted by: crudbasher | April 11, 2013

CodeSpells: Learning To Code In A Game

I know there has been a lot of noise in the last few years about “gamification”. This is a way of learning by making it into a game. You play the game and learn at the same time.

Personally, having a lot of experience with video games, I think if you can somehow get kids to invest as much energy into useful games as they spend on purely recreational ones you could teach them a lot. I mean, this is all about engagement isn’t it?

I like where they are doing here and encourage you to watch the video showing how the game works. There will be more of this because 1. the cost (and difficulty) of making these games is dropping, and 2. there are more and more platforms (such as smartphones) that are capable of playing games. I can see a situation where kids learn how to code by playing games, and then create their own games… That would be awesome! It would be even more awesome if they can make their own Virtual Reality worlds like we saw in yesterday’s post. (see A Good Step Towards Virtual Reality)

  • A video game that teaches how to program in Java | KurzweilAI
    • CodeSpells, an immersive, first-person player video game designed to teach students in elementary to high school how to program in the popular Java language, has been developed by University of California, San Diego computer scientists.
    • The researchers tested the game on a group of 40 girls, ages 10 to 12, who had never been exposed to programming before. In just one hour of play, the girls had mastered some of Java’s basic components and were able to use the language to create new ways of playing with the game.
    • The UC San Diego computer scientists plan to release the game for free and make it available to any educational institution that requests it. Researchers are currently conducting further case studies in San Diego elementary schools.
    • CodeSpells was influenced by research that Esper and Foster conducted on how successful programmers learn their trade. They surveyed 30 computer scientists and identified five characteristics that are key to learn programming outside a classroom setting: activities must be structured by the person who is trying to learn; learning must be creative and exploratory; programming is empowering; learners have difficulty stopping once they start; and learners spend countless hours on the activity.

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

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Responses

  1. [...] I know there has been a lot of noise in the last few years about "gamification". This is a way of learning by making it into a game. You play the game and learn at the same time. Personally, having…  [...]

  2. [...] codespells [...]

  3. [...] I know there has been a lot of noise in the last few years about "gamification". This is a way of learning by making it into a game. You play the game and learn at the same time. Personally, having…  [...]

  4. [...] See on educationstormfront.wordpress.com [...]

  5. Interestingly enough, I am now taking a course on gamification by @kwerb through Coursera. Gamification is NOT making everything into a game, rather it is taking the elements and the techniques and figuring out what makes games engaging, fun and motivating and applying these to non-gaming contexts. So, you can not just turn everything into a game and call it gamification. You really need to understand what motivates and engages people and recombine the techniques and elements in a way that makes sense for your particular need.

    Now that I have said that, I will try codespell since this is now something that we are talking about in my school– how and when to introduce coding/programming to students.

    • Hey Debra, I did gloss over a bit about gamification. Thanks very much for clarifying the concept!!

      My Nephew is already trying Codespells. It’s such a good idea!


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