Design activity #1: First ideas on designing a game for computational thinking

The mock-up and ideas

The basic ideas.
Today I started on the basic idea of the game for fostering algorithmic thinking and pattern recognition within the subject area of danish as a mother tongue. Many thoughts have come up, but the basic idea is to combine tangible objects with digital artefacts in different ways to support the creativity and thinking skill of the students when writing stories. The tangible object (computational things) will function as structuring resources scaffolding the students when they outline their stories. Right now I want to use the student’s mobile phones as well by using QR-codes to give them excerpts from an existing story, to create basic plotlines. With the use of tangible objects, the students can fill out the missing parts linking the plots. To do this the students involve (to some extent) pattern recognition and algorithmic thinking (my hypothesis).

From analogue to digital artefacts
After the students have finished the basics of the story, we want them to transform their ideas into interactive stories in the tool called Twine
The great thing about Twine is, that it both works as a tool for transforming the student’s creative ideas into a story others can engage in and also gives us researchers an opportunity to follow the students when they “program” a story in a tool, that uses basic programming syntax to function. E.g. creating a link requires the student to write a small command: [[ text ]]. Again the student also needs to involve both algorithmic thinking and create logical patterns to create a coherent story.

Collaboration as a way to investigate how students think!
The game is designed towards as a collaborative enterprise. We think, that the only way to investigate the problem-solving and computational thinking-strategies the students put to use, is by letting the work collaborate and communicate about their design ideas and actions.

Next steps:
The next steps will be a lot of further idea generation and sketching. Much is to be considered and learned. Both I regards of different properties of materials and how to design and manufacture the desired idea in the final steps. Right now designing in Adobe Illustrator, Inkscape and the like seem to be the next step, as well as trying to work with different forms and game formats.

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