Education, Games, and Data Science at NC State University
BOTS is a social collaboration-based game where players work together to solve puzzles using simple programming concepts. The game is played with a network of friends, using “code blocks” collected through mini-games, achievements, and social networking to build and share gadgets and solve puzzles. Aimed at an introductory computing audience, BOTS will help teach the concepts of computational thinking to students with no prior programming experience, and facilitate a social network for innovation and sharing of ideas between students and faculty.
BOTS was developed to help study the ways the social web can facilitate learning withing a game environment, through social gaming processes like peer evaluation, collaborative content creation, and social competition. Through BOTS, we hope to find a way to harness students’ creativity to facilitate the development of large amounts of quality game content made more valuable due to the fact that such content is inherently socially situated; it is much more likely that a student will play a friend’s newly uploaded level than an anonymous piece of new content. Additionally, we hope to study the ways in which the design of social systems can influence the types of interactions participants in those systems can engage in.
BOTS is a work in progress. The development team is continually adding more functionality, from individual percepts on the robots to entirely new types of programming challenges. We hope to continually layer new content into the game so that we can develop a social programmable world, where users can share scripts and gadgets they’ve coded with their friends and facilitate a continuous flow of learning and creativity between peers.