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Playing Beowulf: Bridging computational thinking, arts and literature through game-making

De Paula, BH; Burn, A; Noss, R; Armando Valente, J; (2017) Playing Beowulf: Bridging computational thinking, arts and literature through game-making. International Journal of Child-Computer Interaction 10.1016/j.ijcci.2017.11.003. (In press). Green open access

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Abstract

Preparing younger generations to engage meaningfully with digital technology is often seen as one of the goals of 21st century education. JeanetteWing’s seminal work on Computational Thinking (CT) is an important landmark for this goal: CT represents a way of thinking, a set of problem-solving skills which can be valuable when interacting with digital technologies, and with different fields of knowledge, such as Arts and Humanities. Even if this cross-areas relevance has been celebrated and acknowledged in theoretical research, there has been a lack of practical projects exploring these links between CT and non-STEM fields. This research develops these links. We present a specific case – a game produced by two 14 years-old boys – within Playing Beowulf, a collaboration with the British library’s Young Researchers programme, in which students aged 13–14 from an inner-London (UK) school have developed games based on their own readings of the Anglo-Saxon poem Beowulf during an after-school club. The game was produced using MissionMaker, a software (currently under development at UCL Knowledge Lab) that allows users to create and code their own first-person 3D games in a simple way, using pre-made 3D assets, such as rooms, props, characters and weapons and a simplified programming language manipulated through drop-down lists. We argue that MissionMaker, by simplifying the development process (low floor), can be a means to foster the building of knowledge in both STEM (CT) and Arts and Humanities, building bridges between these two areas inside and outside traditional schooling.

Type: Article
Title: Playing Beowulf: Bridging computational thinking, arts and literature through game-making
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1016/j.ijcci.2017.11.003
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijcci.2017.11.003
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © 2017 The Authors. Published by Elsevier B.V. This is an open access article under the CC BY license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).
Keywords: Game-making, Computational thinking, Arts, Humanities
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education > IOE - Culture, Communication and Media
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10044203
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