Abstract

The accelerating growth of technology in the last decades has led to an ever-increasing demand for computing professionals. At the same time, the number of computing graduates around the world grows at a slower pace, resulting to a bottleneck in the supply for industry vacancies. One of the many reasons for this is a common notion that programming is a tedious and daunting task that is relatively unrewarding. Despite that, extracurricular events such as Hour of Code and Code Week have been successful in attracting more young people to computing, and educational programming games hosted during these events have become very popular. In this paper, we report our experience with developing a multiplayer educational game called aMazeChallenge which aims to teach programming to students in a gameful environment. In our game, players must program an avatar to escape a virtual maze arena using simple instructions in a blockbased programming language. aMazeChallenge utilizes public cloud infrastructure to enable code execution at the backend while players can participate using an Android client. Through aMazeChallenge, our objective is to engage students in a fun, competitive environment where they can learn the basic concepts of programming. Our preliminary results show that students enjoyed playing aMazeChallenge and that the game increased their awareness of programming concepts as well as of the significance of computing.

Recommended Citation

Kasenides, N. & Paspallis N. (2021). aMazeChallenge: An Interactive Multiplayer Game for Learning to Code. In E. Insfran, F. González, S. Abrahão, M. Fernández, C. Barry, H. Linger, M. Lang, & C. Schneider (Eds.), Information Systems Development: Crossing Boundaries between Development and Operations (DevOps) in Information Systems (ISD2021 Proceedings). Valencia, Spain: Universitat Politècnica de València.

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aMazeChallenge: An Interactive Multiplayer Game for Learning to Code

The accelerating growth of technology in the last decades has led to an ever-increasing demand for computing professionals. At the same time, the number of computing graduates around the world grows at a slower pace, resulting to a bottleneck in the supply for industry vacancies. One of the many reasons for this is a common notion that programming is a tedious and daunting task that is relatively unrewarding. Despite that, extracurricular events such as Hour of Code and Code Week have been successful in attracting more young people to computing, and educational programming games hosted during these events have become very popular. In this paper, we report our experience with developing a multiplayer educational game called aMazeChallenge which aims to teach programming to students in a gameful environment. In our game, players must program an avatar to escape a virtual maze arena using simple instructions in a blockbased programming language. aMazeChallenge utilizes public cloud infrastructure to enable code execution at the backend while players can participate using an Android client. Through aMazeChallenge, our objective is to engage students in a fun, competitive environment where they can learn the basic concepts of programming. Our preliminary results show that students enjoyed playing aMazeChallenge and that the game increased their awareness of programming concepts as well as of the significance of computing.