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Computer Programming Game

May 1, 2013

A fun video game teaches college-level computer programming skills to 10-year-olds.



21st century computer wizards.¬† I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

(SFX: CodeSpells video game sounds)

Can 10-year-olds learn to program computers? University of California, San Diego¬†graduate students Sarah Esper and Stephen Foster think so. They’ve designed an immersive 3-D video game called CodeSpells. In it, players become wizards who cast spells in the form of computer code to vanquish monsters.


And so you’re set into this 3-D and our job is to read, write, modify and cast spells, or Java programs. We do provide snippets of code in a spellbook.


So far, the game has been a hit with 4th graders at a local elementary school. She says the video game format keeps students hooked, as they learn college-level programming skills with minimal instruction. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.

UCSD Computer Science graduate student Sarah Esper looks on as 4th graders play a video game designed to teach computer programming skills. (Ioana Patringenaru/UCSD Jacobs School of Engineering)