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John Murray - THATCamp Games 2013

John  Murray

  • Title / Position: Graduate Student
  • Organization: University of California, Santa Cruz
  • Website: lucidbard.com
  • Twitter: @lucidbard

I was an English nerd in high school. Then I hopped ship into computer science in undergrad, until I found that I enjoyed the boundaries more than I enjoyed being firmly in any one discipline. I started an ambitious software project to visualize story structures entitled StorySigns which led me on a road to my current position as a graduate researcher at the Expressive Intelligence Studio. There I'm working on a history of Flash, a startup, and researching collaborative gameplay and using the intelligence of the crowd to solve hard problems. While I'm not a pirate, I have taken classes in dancing, fencing and sailing, and enjoy coffee far too much.

  • Games that Teach Programming Literacy


    Learning to code is universally acknowledged as critical, and many have endorsed it in k-12 education.. There are several games out there which now have their explicit purpose to teach programming. Code Hero requires players to use coding constructs to overcome in-game challenges. Kodu uses simple graphics and simulations to teach kids how to think logically. Hakitzu uses the mobile platform to teach coding to younger audiences, but falls short of the abstraction and meaning present in DragonBox. I’m currently working on a crowd-sourced game which has at it’s core an understanding of induction and logical elements that are central to understanding programming concepts. I’m very interested in exploring the elements of procedures as an objective within a game itself; how is it done well and why are some games that do it successful?

    What about these games are worth highlighting, using or subverting? What’s the difference between using code in a game context to learn, and learning code in the context of creating a game?

    We can play several of the games listed above as well as games of participants choice and find out what makes a good game, what would make an excellent lesson utilizing them and how to integrate coding literacy as well as programming skills through games.