A Sandwich Robot for Computational Thinking: Reflections from Testing with High School Pupils

Emanuela Marchetti*, Andrea Valente, Nina Bonderup Dohn

*Corresponding author for this work

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Abstract

Our study discusses results from testing and co-designing Sandwich Robot, a game on algorithmic thinking targeting beginner programmers. The player composes code from a minimal set of blocks, to make a robotic character gather ingredients for a sandwich, following a specific order; t he gameplay is similar to other Computational Thinking (CT)games like Karel t he Robotor LightBot. The latest prototype of the game has been tested with three classes of 15-20 pupils from a technical high school in Denmark. The test was conducted in collaboration with their teacher in the subject Informatik, which focuses on CT and basic programming, and ended with a co-design workshop. Our results shows that pupils were interest in the basic concept behind our game, they generally described our game as “fun”. Pupils and their teacher saw learning potential in the game, as a tool for understanding algorithmic thinking, but also for refining their learning at later stages. This expanded the role we envisioned for our game, leading us to rethink its relation to the pupils’ learning process. On-going and future work involves addressing pupils’ feedback and providing a level editor to allow Kahoot-style challenges. Our main contribution provides an exemplar of how the thinking behind algorithmic problem-solving can be transposed into game mechanics, embodied in a casual game, and how a non-technical narrative can support beginners learning CT.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 17th European Conference on Games Based Learning
EditorsTon Spil, Guido Bruinsma, Luuk Collou
Place of PublicationReading
PublisherAcademic Conferences and Publishing International
Publication date2023
Pages381-389
ISBN (Print)978-1-914587-88-7
ISBN (Electronic) 978-1-914587-89-4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2023
Event17th European Conference on Games Based Learning - University of Twente, Enschede, Netherlands
Duration: 5. Oct 20236. Oct 2023
Conference number: 17
https://www.academic-conferences.org/conferences/ecgbl/

Conference

Conference17th European Conference on Games Based Learning
Number17
LocationUniversity of Twente
Country/TerritoryNetherlands
CityEnschede
Period05/10/202306/10/2023
Internet address
SeriesProceedings of the European Conference on Games-based Learning
Number1
Volume17
ISSN2049-0992

Keywords

  • Computational Thinking
  • games
  • e-learning
  • casual games
  • highschool
  • playful learning

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