User centered design of games for programming

Learning programming with a game? We held a 1-day workshop for six 10th grade students from a local school to investigate what kind of games lower secondary school students enjoy, which elements that work well in a game for learning programming, and get ideas for a game  concept. During the first half of the workshop the students played two different  existing off-the-shelf programming games, Grasshopper by Google and CodeCombat. Their thoughts and impressions were captured through a focus group after playing.

In the other half of the workshop we held a co-design session based on the Triadic Game Design Approach. It consisted of four phases, where the students worked in groups in order to come up with game concepts by following the instructions for each phase. The day turned out to be successful, and the findings will help us as we proceed with our specialization project and master thesis, where the eventual goal is to design a programming game for lower secondary school.