Bromwich, K., Masoodian, M., & Rogers, B. (2012). Crossing the game threshold: A system for teaching basic programming constructs. In 13th International Conference of the NZ Chapter of the ACM's Special Interest Group on Human-Computer Interaction, CHINZ 2012, Dunedin, July 2-3 2012, (pp 56-63). Dunedin, New Zealand.
Permanent Research Commons link: http://hdl.handle.net/10289/6839
Teaching elementary programming is a difficult and often frustrating process. Many students fail to grasp the basic concepts and drop out of their programmes of study. Although visual languages with some form of game element have been explored as a solution to this problem, evidence on the success of these is at best mixed, without much empirical evaluation to support various claims that are made by their developers. In this paper we argue for and present a more limited programming game system for teaching basic programming constructs to beginner programmers at junior high school level. We also present an evaluation of this game which shows that students participating in this study enjoyed playing the game and succeeded in advancing through progressively more challenging stages of the game, which rely on understanding the underlying programming constructs.