The concept of preparing girls to the path of computing career is vital as they are introduced to the field while still in middle schools. The early studies have supplied with documentation on students’ results, though there are concerns of whether the child computer games programs have the capability to engage students to think and prepare them for advanced programming. The theory of this education strategy is based primarily on the constructionist learning, which shows that understanding is more important aspect than memorizing. This way the students learn how to make computer programs rather than use the technology. The programming engages students to the core competence of programming, organizing, and documentation of codes.
The contribution to future computing is, thus, introduced to student’s algorithmic thinking. The documentation of codes increases the development efficiency and quality, when they work collaboratively. The students learn how to make usable interfaces thinking on how the player will interact with the game. The core competences are the most important in engaging in conceptual thinking (Denner, Werner and Ortiz).
The study is focused on girls. There were 59 girls, who voluntary took part in creating of one to five games within a period of 4-6 weeks per game. The class was to program several games during a long period of time and at an informal setting (Denner, Werner and Ortiz). The study explored, whether the programming of computer games was a strategy for engaging the middle school students in the experience of programming. They worked in the mode of thinking and problem solving, which prepared them for intensive classes and careers.
The result of the study showed that programming was promising to engaged students, as they got ready for the novice programming. The testing of the study revealed that there were a number of students, who were unable to understand the use of while and if as variables in the game (Denner, Werner and Ortiz). Most of the variables used were to change the character’s look in the game, which is significant for design of simulation. The multiple appearances of a character were necessary for one game genre more than expected, and 40% of the games included the complex programming concepts.
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There were uses of global variables in the games, and this indicated that the students did not transmit their knowledge from appearance variable to the other uses of variables. There were problems encountered, such as the planning of their designs and the programming codes, which included multiple pieces. Some scientists ‘found that novices approached a program in a line-by-line way rather than in “chunks”’ (Denner, Werner and Ortiz 246). The games incorporated multiple stages, which were in consistence to the requirement of the assignment provided. The stages, however, were linked to less than 50% of the games, and this proved that there were some difficulties in putting various pieces together correctly. The door functionality in the games could be programmed by using simple steps similar to those of character interaction. The simple game requirements had little effect on what the students programmed, as simple adventures had complex programming (Denner, Werner and Ortiz).
There were several concepts that seemed to be complex despite the availability of materials. The incorporation of global variables use, making the players of the game earn more points, was done by few students. When writing a code for a program, a major sign of the programmers’ understanding of their creations is the extent to which they organize and document the code (Denner, Werner and Ortiz). The moderate usage was the same to students of similar age but other studies, as it was found that most students had difficulties with learning design skills.
The limitation of the study was that the games might not have reflected what the students were capable of, as reflections were on what they did. The final products had limitations due to lots of reasons, such as missing classes because of illness and being obligated to negotiate their decisions with partners. When there are requirements it is possible to evaluate the quality of the solutions and study whether the programming constructs are used correctly (Denner, Werner and Ortiz). The experiment was seen to motivate students to learn computer science, while exploring the game creation genre. The study found out that without proper guidance, the domain of the problem approach may fail to provide students with sufficient motivation to learn a wide range of computer concepts.
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The result of this study provided evidence that computer games programming was an opportunity to engage students in thinking process that would prepare them to further studies in computing. They were motivated by competition and strict requirements for high level programming and clear codes (Denner, Werner and Ortiz). Computer game programming was a promising strategy in preparing a student to pursue the career of computing. This strategy gave the students an avenue to thinking that would make them producers rather than the users of the technology. Nevertheless, it is not possible to predict and tell what the students are gaining from the programming of computer games. The article was written in a systematic way that helps to fully describe each and every step of the study. The article is documenting all the stages that were followed in attaining the objective of the study (Denner, Werner and Ortiz).