Principles of a debugging-first puzzle game for computing education

Michael J. Lee, Faezeh Bahmani, Irwin Kwan, Jilian Laferte, Polina Charters, Amber Horvath, Fanny Luor, Jill Cao, Catherine Law, Michael Beswetherick, Sheridan Long, Margaret Burnett, Andrew J. Ko

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

47 Scopus citations

Abstract

Although there are many systems designed to engage people in programming, few explicitly teach the subject, expecting learners to acquire the necessary skills on their own as they create programs from scratch. We present a principled approach to teach programming using a debugging game called Gidget, which was created using a unique set of seven design principles. A total of 44 teens played it via a lab study and two summer camps. Principle by principle, the results revealed strengths, problems, and open questions for the seven principles. Taken together, the results were very encouraging: learners were able to program with conditionals, loops, and other programming concepts after using the game for just 5 hours.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationProceedings - 2014 IEEE Symposium on Visual Languages and Human-Centric Computing, VL/HCC 2014
PublisherIEEE Computer Society
Pages57-64
Number of pages8
ISBN (Print)9781479940356
DOIs
StatePublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes
Event2014 IEEE Symposium on Visual Languages and Human-Centric Computing, VL/HCC 2014 - Melbourne, VIC, Australia
Duration: Jul 28 2014Aug 1 2014

Publication series

NameProceedings of IEEE Symposium on Visual Languages and Human-Centric Computing, VL/HCC
ISSN (Print)1943-6092
ISSN (Electronic)1943-6106

Other

Other2014 IEEE Symposium on Visual Languages and Human-Centric Computing, VL/HCC 2014
CountryAustralia
CityMelbourne, VIC
Period7/28/148/1/14

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Computational Theory and Mathematics
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Software

Keywords

  • Computer science education
  • computational thinking
  • debugging
  • educational game
  • summer camp
  • user study

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