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Sempozyum: 6th Internatıonal Computer and Instructıonal Technologies Symposium
Learning Computer Programming and Developing Computational Thinking Through a Game Based Learning Approach
Çagın KAZIMOĞLU
University of Greenwich

Ş. Cem TEZEL
Mustafa Kemal University
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Sempozyum: 6th Internatıonal Computer and Instructıonal Technologies Symposium
Learning Computer Programming and Developing Computational Thinking Through a Game Based Learning Approach
Çagın KAZIMOĞLU
University of Greenwich

Ş. Cem TEZEL
Mustafa Kemal University
Abstract : Learning computer programming and developing skills in computational thinking (CT) have been the focal point of several studies over the past years as these are integral parts of Computer Science (CS) education. Despite the huge amount of work in this field, many students still recognise computer programming as an excessively diff icult and a tedious activity. To overcome the negative attitude of students, recent research in this field proposes computer games and computer game-based technologies (such as visual programming tools) as a promising strategy for engaging students in learning computer programming simply because computer games are motivational in nature. Furthermore, various studies discuss the benefits of scaff olding the development of CT through computer game based learning (GBL) as well as how computer game-like environments can foster students’ motivation in learning programming. However, to date, there is little empirical evidence that proves computer games are educationally eff ective solutions for learning computer programming constructs and that a computer game based learning approach can be used to develop students’ abilities in thinking computationally. In this paper, we discuss how a computer game based model developed by the first author can support students’ learning process in learning computer programming.

We have designed a pre and post study design, and asked 75 computer instructional technology (CIT) students to evaluate whether or not they think the game helped them to improve their knowledge in computer programming. We had received 68 valid comparable responses from students and the results have been assessed through using a statistical hypothesis test (i.e. t-tests). The findings suggest that students think that they developed their own algorithmic thinking and problem solving abilities during their game-play. Moreover, they also think their knowledge on how computer programming constructs work has been enhanced after playing the game.
Keywords : computational thinking, learning programming, game based learning, serious games, introductory
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