Tag Archives: Gaming

AP Summer Institute – Houston #2

AP Summer Institute #3 is history.
I had a huge group in Houston from all over the US.
The workshop started on July 18th and ran for four days.
The Region Center in Houston always has great food.

We covered tons of material, including Scratch, Jeroo, GridWorld, and lots of Java.
We discussed teaching with Codes and Ciphers, teaching List Processing using multiple environments, and using GridWorld games like Sliding Puzzle to teach Object-Oriented Programming.

Attendees came all of the way from Ohio, Arkansas, Texas, and Massachusetts. All sorts of folks attended, including an Astronomer, Fortran Programmer, and multiple former Disney employees. It was a great group of people and it was nice to get to know them all.

I am currently conducting an AP SI in Fayetteville, Arkansas at the University of Arkansas.
See all of my workshop dates and available materials.
Follow my travels across the US to my workshops via my son’s travel blog.

Game Programming

Game Programming is very popular and many high schools offer some type of Computer Science course that includes a bit of game programming.  Scratch can be used to teach some basic game programming as can Kodu.  Unity is another great tool for 3D game programming that now will run on Android.  I teach quite a few games in my AP CS A class using GridWorld and Java Graphics with a bit of GUI.  I have used GameMaker a few times with mixed results.  Also, C# and XNA work great for game development and there are lots of materials readily available for free – check Alfred’s BlogPygame is great and allows you to create some really nice games using Python.  The options for game programming are numerous and games really do get students excited and motivated about learning Computer Science.

Kodu Cup

What up yo?  Well, the Kodu Cup is up yo!  3D game creation for moolah and prizes!  Okay, so rapping / slangy stuff is clearly not my forte, but you get the picture.   This contest looks very cool and my students are really excited about getting in on the game creation action.  I hope to have several projects entered into the contest by my students and may even get my 7 and 9 year old sons into the mix as well.  I may eventually put together some Kodu materials and include them with my other curriculum materials.

You can find more information about Kodu at the main Kodu site – Kodu


DreamSpark Software

Alfred Thompson has a great blog post up about the DreamSpark program Microsoft offers to students for FREE!  Yes, indeed – I did say FREE!  I am not plugging Microsoft or on the payroll ( yet ), but I do think the program is great and hope more people learn about it.  My students love all of the different tools provided.   We hope to do more with it this year.

CS News – Video Game Data Mining

Video Game Data Mining

Online gaming services not only host the games, but also record the playing of the games.  Apparently, the data mined from the recorded game play helps to provide the designers with ideas.  Makes good sense to analyze this data, but is still a bit on the creepy side.

This is a really interesting article that I am going to discuss this week with my Computer Science classes.  We are starting some game projects and this is a great lead in and conversation piece.  Most all of my students play online games so I am curious to see how they respond to this article.

CS News – Gamers Help Solve Medical Problems

Gamers Help Solve Medical Problems

Protein Game Site

This is really cool!  It makes sense to use a game to solve a problem as problem-solving is a essential part of playing any game.
I have made several posts about using games to teach Computer Science and the benefits.  I have been using basic games, complex games, and the theory and logic behind them to teach Computer Science and problem-solving concepts in my classes for a long time.  Games, like bowling, are just good family fun.  Games are interesting and get students excited and they require serious thought and planning to build.  I have my students build a sliding puzzle project in GridWorld and use it as a stepping stone to talk about using priority queues and the A* algorithm to write an automated solver.  The A* algorithm is a fun algorithm to learn and can be used for lots of different games and such.   Yes, I did just use algorithm and fun in the same sentence and meant to do it!  The games are the hook and the rest of the concepts just fall into place.

Sliding Puzzle Image

Sliding Puzzle Image