Improving novice programmers' skills through playability and pattern discovery: A descriptive study of a game building workshop

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STEM Education: Concepts, Methodologies, Tools, and Applications
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Barcelos T.S.
Soto R.M.
Silveira I.F.
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© 2015, IGI Global. All rights reserved.Game design and development has already been discussed as a viable, motivating alternative to introduce Computer Science concepts to young students. In this sense, it would be useful to obtain a deeper understanding of which skills could be developed in these activities and how such skills could be useful in future careers. This chapter presents the design and evaluation of a Game Building Workshop aimed at introducing the fundamentals of structured programming to students. The games produced by students during 12 weeks were evaluated and the results confronted with students' questions and comments made along the workshop meetings and a final interview. The results indicate that students explored novel programming concepts in order to add features that were not initially planned for the proposed games. These additional features solve playability issues that are highly influential to the experience of the students as game players. Students also reused previously applied solutions to solve similar problems that appeared in subsequent activities. This is an indication that students developed or exercised analogy and abstraction skills during the workshop activities.
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