There has been an active movement towards fun learning, using games in education. This article introduces the text-based serious game “Rise of the Java Emperor” that aims to support students in learning basic object-oriented programming concepts using Java. Information concerning the analysis, the design and the pilot evaluation of the game is presented. Thirty-three undergraduate and postgraduate students of an Applied Informatics Department voluntarily played and answered a questionnaire based on the MEEGA+ model, in order to investigate the perceived player experience and short-term learning as well as the acceptance of a text-based programming game by students. The results of the evaluation show that text based games can be both fun and instructional for the field of computer programming. An important issue that requires further research is how this or other programming games can be successfully combined with traditional teaching methods for enhancing the learning of programming.
This paper presents an approach to the initial programming learning using the four components instructional model and the Alice software. The quasi-experimental design was developed with two groups of students that attended two schools with very different socioeconomic status and school retention levels. The differences obtained in the mean of the programming knowledge test when co-variated with the Logical Development Scale score were positive in the two groups, with no statistical significance in the difference between both (p = 0.05). The differences obtained in the Logical Development Scale score (Échelle Collective de Devéloppement Lógique [ECDL]), before and after the experimental treatment, revealed positive differences in the experimental group with no statistical significance (p > 0.05), and in the control group with statistical significance (p < 0.05). These results suggest that the Alice software when combined with the 4C-ID instructional model has positive effects in programming learning and in logical reasoning.
Program visualization (PV) is potentially a useful method for teaching programming basics to novice programmers. However, there are very few studies on the effects of PV. We have developed a PV tool called ViLLE at the University of Turku. In this paper, multiple studies on the effects of the tool are presented. In addition, new qualitative data about students' feedback of using the tool is presented. Both, the results of our studies and the feedback indicate that ViLLE can be used effectively in teaching basic programming concepts to novice programmers.
In this paper, we present an open-source program visualization tool, Jeliot 3. We discuss the design principles and philosophy that gave rise to this successful e-learning tool and to several other related environments. Beside Jeliot 3, we introduce three different environments, BlueJ, EJE, and JeCo that use Jeliot 3 as a plug-in to allow visualization of the program code. Another system, FADA, is a tool that was derived from Jeliot 3 but serves for different pedagogical goals. A community of users and developers of these projects has been created and supported, that allows for global and iterative improvements of the Jeliot 3 tool. This way, both academic research and feedback from the user community contribute to the development. We compare the presented approach of the tool development to some of the current tools and we discuss several instances evidencing a particular success.