Using digital games to transform computer programming courses in Higher Education Institutions
Learning a programming language is usually considered a highly demanding and difficult process for students of all disciplines. This results in programming courses being often characterized by high dropout rates. The paper’s objective is to propose an innovative game-based learning approach towards enhancing the effectiveness and attractiveness of computer language learning courses in Higher Education Institutions. The use of digital games in learning has been increasing lately since it has been proven that they are highly effective in interdisciplinary areas, where students are required to combine knowledge from different fields and apply critical thinking and problem solving skills towards achieving a learning goal. The paper is focused on C programming language, which is considered a significant skill for the development of advanced systems (used in a number of sectors, e.g., business, education, government, health) and is the basis for Java and C++ programs. Towards deciding on an appropriate learning approach, the paper investigates the major challenges and problems the field is faced with and makes a comparative analysis of strategies, approaches and tools that have already been implemented. The proposed approach uses the Microsoft Kodu tool as a mean to provide an immersive, 3D gaming environment, where students can practice their programming skills by first developing their own game and later through their participation in a more sophisticated game, designed by their instructor. The overall approach is aligned with the experiential learning model, while it incorporates problem-based learning principles, aiming to enhance students’ involvement within the learning environment and to strengthen their creativity, high order thinking and problem solving skills. The proposed methodology is expected to have a positive impact on students’ attitude regarding programming, maximising the educational impact of the proposed game-based activities.
Citation : Kasimati, A. and Zamani, E.D. (2012) Using digital games to transform computer programming courses in Higher Education Institutions. Paper presented at the 7th EFQUEL Innovation Forum, 5 - 7 September, Granada, Spain.
ISSN : 2294-9755
Research Group : Centre for Computing and Social Responsibility
Research Institute : Centre for Computing and Social Responsibility (CCSR)
Peer Reviewed : Yes