The challenges faced by students who start in Computer Science are many: from subjects that are related to mathematics to keeping the motivation with all the works to deliver. However, one of the main challenges is understanding the concept of logic and coding, which is the basis for much of the course of academic life.
There are several possibilities that may be the reason for that, as emphasized by Raabe and Silva (2005): whether by the predominance of logical-mathematical thinking in the discipline, the difficulty of sharing knowledge by the teacher or even the learning pace of each student. Logical reasoning starts in the early stages of student education, more precisely in elementary school. The need to acquire this knowledge in their basic form since the elementary school is valid, since learning coding is not an easy task, and if understood from early ages, it will certainly benefit future students in the area.
With increased interest and easy access to technology, it’s possible to encourage children in elementary school to learn through digital educational games. The game implies for the child much more than a simple act of playing. Through the game, they are communicating with the world and also expressing themselves. For adults, the game constitutes a “mirror”, a source of data for better understanding how children development occurs, as Friedmann already said in 1996.
With games, students can feel more motivated in the development of tasks and consequently develop reasoning, especially when games add a set of multimedia elements that hold more attention than a paper or blackboard. Learning with games also helps to build social skills such as mutual respect, cooperation, obedience to rules, sense of responsibility, sense of justice, personal and group initiative.
It’s important that the game has a balance between what’s necessary to be taught and the essential mechanics of a game, allowing the student to absorb as much useful information as possible. If the balance isn’t respected, the game ends up being just a fun tool with no educational purposes or even a boring and tedious game.
The format of a digital educational game clearly follows the idea of turning fun into learning and teaching. According to Savi and Ulbricht (2008), students are able to develop cognitive abilities more efficiently, to plan strategies to solve certain challenges and to immerse themselves in the game. This way they also explore and learn new possibilities, relating the acquired knowledge with their day-to-day activities.
There are several games that teach the basics of coding, stimulating logical reasoning and the way of thinking, from the construction of algorithms to the association of them. Here are some mobile games, which work very well these aspects:
Savi and Ulbricht (2008) argue that digital games can also be used in a number of other sectors, such as conducting specific training in companies or colleges, improving local management or any specific skill.
With technology at our side, we have succeeded in bringing this reality of digital educational games to life. This whole process of creation and development is no longer something from another world, especially when we use gaming engines such as Unreal, Unity, CryEngine and Godot. They provide the developer with a wide variety of development and design libraries, many of which are completely free. In addition, there is a large community on the internet that helps by creating tutorials and also giving support for questions and problems.
Like Steve Jobs said “Technology is nothing. What’s important is that you have a faith in people, that they’re basically good and smart, and if you give them tools, they’ll do wonderful things with them”.