Patterns of Play

While computational thinking and computer science skills are among the most valuable, sought after skills in the digital age, they are also some of the most challenging to learn. Because a vast majority of youth play videogames, using game design as an entry point for programming skills shows promise for encouraging more young learners to pursue careers in computer science and technology (Hayes & Games, 2008). Our research team at the University of Wisconsin-Madison has developed a game design curriculum around the game design software Kodu, fostering interest-driven learning of computational thinking. Based on data from 76 participants, results show kode complexity increases with time spent designing in Studio K, regardless of gender or prior interest in game design or programming. These preliminary findings beg deeper analysis of the patterns of play that may facilitate deeper, more meaningful acquisition of core computational and computer science concepts.

Understanding Computational Thinking Through Game Design
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