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Wednesday, June 12 • 4:00pm - 5:00pm
Computational Reasoning

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This individual papers session, ”Computational Reasoning”, will include the following:

Patterns of play: Understanding computational thinking through game design
In the digital age, computational thinking is vital to successful participation they are also many barriers to success. Harnessing the potential for games to motivate youth, using game design as an entry point for programming skills shows promise for encouraging more young learners to pursue careers in computer science and technology careers (Hayes & Games, 2008). Our research team at UNIVERSITY has developed a game design curriculum around the design software Kodu, enabling interest-driven learning of computational thinking. Based on pilot data from camps, results suggest that through game design participants became faster and more adept at understanding and using programming concepts, assisted by increased debugging activity. The preliminary findings beg deeper analysis of the patterns of play that may facilitate deeper, more meaningful acquisition of core computer science concepts.
Gabriella Anton, Shannon Harris, Allison Salmon, Amanda Ochsner, Meagan Rothschild, Matthew Berland, Kurt Squire

Designing Gender: Modding in Minecraft
Technical knowledge and skill with digital technologies are essential to today’s global workplace. One way in which learners can acquire these skills is through participation in affinity spaces for video games. By using and creating content in these spaces, learners have motivation to practice skills such as programming and digital art creation. In these spaces they can also gain experience learning from and teaching others, also vital skills for an information economy. However, as women tend to not participate in the affinity spaces for as many games, it is possible that they are missing out on valuable learning opportunities. The popular game Minecraft may prove an exception, because the game has many female fans. What follows is an investigation of how whether or not women are creating content for the game, and whether or not their creations are welcomed in the fan community.
Kelly Tran, Benjamin DeVane

Learning with Portals: STEM Education Through Gaming
Portal 2, an award winning commercial video game by Valve Software, has entered the classroom as a popular teaching tool for mathematics, science and game design curricula. Two teachers, Steve Isaacs and Cameron Pittman, have successfully engaged and motivated students with Portal 2 and its accompanying Puzzle Maker world building tool. Steve, a middle school video game design teacher in Basking Ridge, NJ, uses the Puzzle Maker to teach computational thinking and the iterative design process in his courses. Students play the game to understand key design concepts to later design, create, and refine their own puzzles with the Puzzle Maker. Cameron, a high school physics teacher in Nashville, TN, turned the Puzzle Maker into a virtual physics laboratory. This past fall, Cameron’s students learned physics by building, running and analyzing experiments inside the Puzzle Maker. Joining Steve and Cameron is Leslie Redd, Former Director of Educational Programs at Valve. Leslie created a community of educators through the Steam for Schools “Teach with Portals” project. This project has enabled classroom teachers to utilize the product for free with students and provides an infrastructure for teachers to collaborate in creating meaningful lessons using Portal 2 and the Puzzle Maker. The session will focus on the possibilities of engaging students in meaningful learning opportunities by bringing commercial games like Portal 2 into the learning environment. Successes and challenges will be discussed in order to provide a context for continued implementation of games in learning.
Cameron Pittman, Steve Isaacs, Leslie Redd

Matthew Berland, Discussant

avatar for Matthew Berland

Matthew Berland

University of Wisconsin–Madison

avatar for Gabriella Anton

Gabriella Anton

Research Specialist, Games Learning Society Center
Gabriella Anton graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with two bachelor's degrees in Psychology and Sociology in 2011. She worked in an independent Montessori school as a teaching assistant for 5 years throughout high school and college. She currently works at the Center for Games+Learning+Society designing and implementing a video game design curriculum, as well as studying how adults learn computational thinking and modeling.
avatar for Matthew Berland

Matthew Berland

University of Wisconsin–Madison
avatar for Benjamin DeVane

Benjamin DeVane

Iowa City, Iowa, United States, University of Iowa
Identity & Learning | Computational Thinking | Design & Aesthetics
avatar for Steve Isaacs

Steve Isaacs

Teacher, Bernards Township Board of Ed
Steve has been a gamer since the days of Atari and his Apple II+. His parents were initially concerned with how consumed he was with technology. Now they chuckle as he has created a career around his passion. Steve has been teaching Video Game Design and Development for 15 years, starting with his innovative programming at Liberty Corner Computing, the interactive training and gaming center that he and his wife owned and operated for 10 years... Read More →
avatar for Amanda Ochsner

Amanda Ochsner

Postdoctoral Research Associate, University of Southern California
avatar for Meagan Rothschild

Meagan Rothschild

Early Education Assessment and Design Specialist, WIDA
Kids, play, learning, media, music, general silliness.
avatar for Allison Salmon

Allison Salmon

Lead of Research Tool Development, Games + Learning + Society and the Learning Games Network
Allison Salmon is a Lead Software Engineer at the Learning Games Network and Games + Learning + Society Center in Madison, Wisconsin. At LGN she leads development on the ADAGE project, an open source platform for collecting and analyzing in-game data for assessing evidence of learning. Before joining LGN Allison worked as a technology programmer in the commercial game industry. During her years with Raven Software and Activision she shipped seven... Read More →
avatar for Kurt Squire

Kurt Squire

full professor, uw-madison

Wednesday June 12, 2013 4:00pm - 5:00pm
Inn Wisconsin

Attendees (28)