Educational Games for Teaching Computer Programming
Teaching and learning computer programming presents teachers and students respectively with many challenges, especially when taught with the “traditional” approach. Several alternative teaching approaches were proposed the previous years, but they seem not to fulfil successfully the needs of the twenty-first century students. Students nowadays are raised in a digital world and they learn and react differently. Students start to use computers before they first attend formal education, while computer games have become a part of their everyday life. A growing number of teachers/researchers propose the incorporation of educational games (or serious games) in the teaching of computer programming with the aim of reinforcing instinctive motivation through challenging students, piquing their curiosity and providing them with a sense of control and imagination. This paper aims to review the functionalities that should be supported by educational games in general and the extent to which these functionalities are supported by educational games for computer programming. The comparative analysis of several educational games for programming demonstrates that the majority of games seem well established, but they teach fairly simple concepts and their actual trials and validations are limited. The paper also discusses the implications of our work for the development of educational games that can fully support the identified features and teach complex programming elements.
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