Computational Thinking in Constructionist Video Games
David Weintrop, Learning Sciences and Center for Connected Learning and Computer-Based Modeling, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL, United States ; Nathan Holbert, Mathematics, Science and Technology, Teachers College, Columbia University, New York, NY, United States ; Michael Horn, Learning Sciences, Computer Science, and Center for Connected Learning and Computer-Based Modeling, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL, United States ; Uri Wilensky, Learning Sciences, Computer Science, Northwestern Institute on Complex Systems, and Center for Connected Learning and Computer-Based Modeling, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL, United States
International Journal of Game-Based Learning Volume 6, Number 1, ISSN 2155-6849 Publisher: IGI Global
Video games offer an exciting opportunity for learners to engage in computational thinking in informal contexts. This paper describes a genre of learning environments called constructionist video games that are especially well suited for developing learners' computational thinking skills. These games blend features of conventional video games with learning and design theory from the constructionist tradition, making the construction of in-game artifacts the core activity of gameplay. Along with defining the constructionist video game, the authors present three design principles central to thier conception of the genre: the construction of personally meaningful computational artifacts, the centrality of powerful ideas, and the opportunity for learner-directed exploration. Using studies conducted with two constructionist video games, the authors show how players used in-game construction tools to design complex artifacts as part of game play, and highlight the computational thinking strategies they engaged in to overcome game challenges.
Weintrop, D., Holbert, N., Horn, M. & Wilensky, U. (2016). Computational Thinking in Constructionist Video Games. International Journal of Game-Based Learning, 6(1), 1-17. IGI Global.