Interactive board games in classroom

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Transcript of Interactive board games in classroom

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Maria Skiadelli ICT and Informatics Teacher

Constructionism 2012Athens, 22/8/2012Interactive Board Games in classroom

What is a board game?Aboard gameis agamethat involvescounters or piecesmoved or placed on a pre-marked surface or"board", according to a set of rules. Games can be based on purestrategy, chance (e.g. rollingdice) or a mixture of the two, and usually have a goal which a player aims to achieve.Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Board_game

Interactive Board games (IB games)Board Games that are implemented as software products and can be played on a computer.A special category of computer gamesCompared with other computer game categories they offer:Simple rules while playingEasiness of implementationFace to face interaction between humans Enhance strategic skills and logic instead of reflex

The constructionism approachY. Kafai in her article Playing and Making Games for Learning says:Rather than embedding lessons directly in games, constructionists have focused their efforts on providing students with greater opportunities to construct their own gamesand to construct new relationships with knowledge in the process.

Remember Seymour Paperts popular saying: learning happens especially felicitously in a context where the learner is consciously engaged in constructing a public entity.

IB games in the informatics curriculumOne has to find meaningful activities that are easy to be implemented by the young and/or novice learners in short time. Kids get easily frustrated if they dont get tangible results. Their patience is running out very fast.Computer games are difficult to implement; they need a lot of effort, time and programming experience of a superior level. So one has to find activities that are fun, playful and rewarding.

Why building the game programmatically?

The dynamic nature of the game is enhancedEither the rules can change or the board can change or both.Various playing situations may occur by just changing a few parameters Game-making activities offer an entry point for young gamers into the digital culture not just as consumers but also as producers (Kafai Y., 2001)

Why use the LOGO language?LOGO offers certain advantages both for implementing and for playing It is interpreted, that means that a game is not only built programmatically, but can be also played programmaticallyFor a player moving a piece on the board is achieved by giving the right moving instructions to a turtleIt has the inherent advantage of drawing lines as traces left by the turtles while moving. That makes quite simple and straightforward the process of drawing the board of the game.

Designing the educational scenarioChildren and/or novice programmers have to follow certain steps indicated by the educational scenario. The scenario has 3 phases:1st: designing the game2nd: Implementing the game3rd: testing and playingEach phase is further divided in more detailed steps given to students as instructionsNotice the similarity to the software engineering cycle

Build your own game in classroomDefine your theme Make choices about the aesthetics Design the boardMake the rules and the scenarioTest and play the gameExplain to others how to play your gamePlay other pupils games and make commentsImprove your game according to comments and ideas from other peers

What do children gain?

Acquire basic programming skills and digital fluency (important for the ICT curriculum)Improve strategic skills and reasoning through coming up with their own set of rules : who wins, what a player should do when he/she takes turnDevelop their creativity and imagination thinking about the theme, the scenario, the aesthetics of their gameEnhance good-fellowship and camaraderie due to the multiplayer nature of most of the games

Lets see some examples

The colored dot game

The board

paint 3 forward 6 forward 4 forward 6 left 90 forward 3 left 90 forward 8 The dice

The colored square game

The boardThe dice

The tic-tac-toe game

paint 0 pen colour = red paint 1 forward 4 with pen up pen colour = green paint 1 right 90 forward 4 with pen up left 90 pen colour = red paint 1 forward 4 with pen up pen colour = green paint 1 right 90 forward 4 with pen up left 90 pen colour = red paint 1

The maze

The maze game is played by two players. One player builds the game and the other has to get out of it. One can also put a time restriction to make the game more challenging.

What makes this Implementation interesting is that the maze is created programmaticallyand therefore each time can be drawn in a different way by just changing a few parameters.

The classroom experimentChildren who developed those IB games were pupils of the 6th grade (~12 years old) of a public primary school and it was their second consecutive year with LOGO programming. In the first year during a 4 weeks period (2 hours per week) they learned how to use the environment and the repertoire of all the basic LOGO commands (8 in total)In the second year they had another 4 weeks period of LOGO programming and they learned how to implement IB games

Younger children (8-10 years old) acquired basic programming skills by just playing even simpler IB games

The EasyLogo environmentEasy Logo is a LOGO based programming environment very easy and simple to learn and handleIt is meant to be used by children or/and novice programmersHas a limited set of LOGO commands (~10) and supports procedures, randomness and repetitionDrawbacks: there is only one turtle, there are no variables and no conditional branching

In a few wordsBoard Games need to be re-invented in a computerized environment, because its fun, easy to play, enhance collaboration, logic and strategic skills. On-line board games can be interactive, parametrisable and offer a rich game experience to their playersICT and informatics curriculum can be enriched by the integration of board game building and playing activities, especially in primary educationThe LOGO language offers certain advantages for implementing such activities in classroom, even for younger children (6-9 years old). The results would be even better if the LOGO based environments took advantage of the new touch screen technologies available on mobile phones, tablet pcs, etc.

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Many Thanks to all of you!!!