Date of Award

1-1-2010

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph.D.

Department

Computer Science

First Advisor

Scott Leutenegger

Abstract

Video and computer games have become an important area of study in the field of education. Games have been designed to teach mathematics, physics, raise social awareness, teach history and geography, and train soldiers in the military. Recent work has created computer games for teaching computer programming and understanding basic algorithms.

We present an investigation where computer games are used to teach two fundamental computer science concepts: boolean expressions and recursion. The games are intended to teach the concepts and not how to implement them in a programming language.

For this investigation, two computer games were created. One is designed to teach basic boolean expressions and operators and the other to teach fundamental concepts of recursion. We describe the design and implementation of both games.

We evaluate the effectiveness of these games using before and after surveys. The surveys were designed to ascertain basic understanding, attitudes and beliefs regarding the concepts. The boolean game was evaluated with local high school students and students in a college level introductory computer science course. The recursion game was evaluated with students in a college level introductory computer science course.

We present the analysis of the collected survey information for both games. This analysis shows a significant positive change in student attitude towards recursion and modest gains in student learning outcomes for both topics.

Provenance

Recieved from ProQuest

Rights holder

Jeffrey Michael Edgington

File size

156 p.

File format

application/pdf

Language

en

Discipline

Computer science, Science education

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