Games for Learning: A Neurodidactical Approach to Computer Science

By Barbara Sabitzer.

Published by The International Journal of Science, Mathematics and Technology Learning

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Games are funny but also serious. They can be a motivating and effective way of learning complex and difficult topics, especially in the subject matter of computer science, which offers a wide range of possibilities to integrate games in the classroom. This paper will describe the use of games in computer science on two levels. On the one hand, it will show how to teach core concepts of informatics in primary and secondary schools by playing games. On the other hand, some learning contents of computer science and ICT can be taught or revised by creating games for other subjects and interdisciplinary learning. Both ways of integrating games in computer science education are interesting and motivating, as it can be verified in studies about the project Informatik erLeben (Experiencing Informatics) of Klagenfurt University. The didactical principles behind the concept of game-based learning are also supported by neurodidactics, an interdisciplinary research field that combines findings of brain and memory research, psychology and other related fields. First of all, games in the classroom can increase motivation and attention, which is the key to effective learning. Apart from this necessary precondition of learning games can integrate other neurodidactical principles, like pattern recognition, social learning, or active learning. This paper will outline some important brain-functions and neurodidactical principles based on different games for computer science education and interdisciplinary learning.

Keywords: Game-based Learning, Brain-based Learning, Computer Science, Informatics, Interdisciplinary Learning, Neurodidactics

The International Journal of Science, Mathematics and Technology Learning, Volume 19, Issue 3, pp.45-55. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 845.055KB).

Dr. Barbara Sabitzer

University Assistant, Department of Informatics Systems, Informatics Didactics, Klagenfurt University, Klagenfurt, Austria, Austria

Barbara Sabitzer holds a master’s degree in Romance languages and psychology and a doctor’s degree (topic: Language Aptitude and Creativity). Besides that she holds a certificate in Business Information Technology and Computer Science. Since 1997 she teaches Italian, Spanish, French, Russian, Computer science and “Learning to learn” in a vocational school (economy and tourism) in Austria and is author of school books for several languages. She gives lectures at the University College of Teacher Education in the fields of didactics, computer supported education, creative learning and pedagogical psychology. Since August 2010 she is also University Assistant at the Department of Informatics Systems (Research group: Informatics Didactics) at Klagenfurt University and works on the research fields of Neurodidactics (brain-based learning), COOL (Cooperative Open Learning), Informatics Didactics, Computer-assisted Learning and Creativity in Classroom.