Oh no! Gidget’s logic chip was damaged on the way to clean up a chemical spill and save the local animals. Gidget remembers the goals for each of the missions, but needs your help to modify the faulty code to pass the levels. Each level becomes progressively more difficult the closer Gidget gets to the chemical factory, and you will have to combine all the concepts you learn along the way to figure out how to solve all the goals.
Gidget is a game specifically designed to help novices learn computer programming concepts through debugging puzzles. Gidget keeps novices engaged by providing an interesting storyline, personified feedback, and tools to help players help themselves through difficult concepts. Prior to its public release, over 800 online participants played through various versions of the game, and over 60 teenagers played through the game and created their own levels during four summer camps in 2013 and 2014.
The game takes a very different approach than existing learning technologies for programming. Rather than trying to motivate kids through creativity (as in Scratch and Alice), provide instruction through tutorials (like Kahn Academy and Codecademy), or inject programming into traditional game mechanics (as in CodeCombat or LightBot), Gidget attempts to translate programming itself into a game by providing a sequence of puzzles for learners to solve. The game aims to teach players that computers are not omniscient, flawless, and intelligent machines, but rather fast, reliable, and mostly ignorant machines that can solve problems. The game’s goal is not necessarily for players to learn to code (though this does happen), but to teach players that programmers can inject software with their own magic.
Gidget is the dissertation work of Michael J. Lee, a PhD candidate in the Information School at the University of Washington. This project is generously funded through the National Science Foundation, Microsoft, and Google, and is a collaborative project between the University of Washington and Oregon State University.
Everyone can now help Gidget debug faulty code to solve puzzles at helpgidget.org.
Contact: Michael J. Lee, email@example.com