Thursday, April 28, 2011

Examples of Games that Teach CS Concepts and Programming

In my previous post I introduced the fact that there weren't very many educational games that specifically aim to teach computer science concepts.  Here I'll share my list so far, and see if you can add any new examples.

Video Games

First let me share an interesting quote from a SIGCSE paper Digital gaming as a vehicle for learning:
During the past two years there has been a resurgence of interest in how to use digital games (e.g. video games, computer games and simulations) to support instruction in a variety of fields. The focus is on how to exploit the rich interactivity of 3-D, multiplayer virtual worlds. Computer science education has, for the most part, taken a different approach: rather than having our students play video games to learn concepts we ask them to build games to learn concepts.
This supports what I said previously: the use of games in CS education tends to centre on creating them rather than playing them.  Again, I don't think this is a bad way to learn — I just think that there is also potential in playing games to learn some of the trickier topics.

Without further ado, here is the list of games and related programs/resources that I've collected so far.  I haven't experienced them all directly, so the accuracy depends on those who suggested them.
  • CS Unplugged (not strictly games, but could be turned into games if desired)
  • Game2Learn (research group that focused on building games that teach CS concepts)
  • LearnMem1 (learn memory layout on a computer; can no longer find a link)
  • World of Goo (someone suggested it might indirectly cover some CS topics)
  • Manufactoria (sort of teaches Turing machines)
  • ToonTalk (gradually introduces children to constructs behind programming)
  • Karel the Robot (robot simulation that teaches programming)
  • Lightbot (use programmer style logic to solve puzzles)
  • 999 on Nintendo DS (knowledge of hex numbers required)
  • Dr Brain games (Island of Dr Brain apparently had programming challenge)
  • RoboZZle (makes use of stacks)
Do you have any other examples? Does your example teach programming skills or more abstracted concepts?


    Anonymous said...

    There are a lot of logic gate games available.

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