Monday, May 25, 2015

Laying Patterns for Learning

As it is I am from Germany and we have a learning game (The game certainly exists also in other cultures. ) which must be older than 40 years, but is still not outdated in any way. They changed the design several times but it is still about answering a question by putting a little plastic plate on the right spot of a thin box. When you have answered any question you can put the lid on it and turn the box. You open the turned box and you can see a nice pattern if all was right. If not you will notice an irregularity.

Picture Source

When I was a child I was good at school and my sister was not. My parents sent her to different places to get help with this problem. One was a nice old lady who gave little lessons to young children and she mainly uses the Luek boxes. I have heard about it and asked my parents if I can go with my sister. I had so much fun, but the lady told me after some time that I am good enough and that her resources are done, means she did not know how to teach me any further, which was sad.

The little books you can buy for learning with the Luek box are mostly for young children. I have the idea to offer these for more advanced topics. They can be greater in size and designed for elder children and adults accompanied by books containing a more advanced type of problems, like chemistry and physics or languages.

I mostly did not think much about the topic but more about having the pattern right and beautiful in front of me, which was the main motivation. This may sound not very professional for teachers but it is a fact and maybe many learners feel like this.

Lueck also exists as a software for mobile devices, so that you can learn with Luek anywhere, but I imagine that people rather have the box and a book with challenges.

Still, I never would be allowed to create the above, because of the rights Luek owes. I certainly have to think out something similar but different enough to the Luck idea.

Programming Maze

I currently do two edx courses, Design and Development of Games and Introduction to Programming with Java . As it is the programming introduction uses games to teach and I will evaluate one of them.
The game uses a certain amount of blocks that are essential programming constructs. With the help of the constructs you have to move through a maze to a certain point. To solve the problem you are limited in the amount of blocks you can use so that you are forced to find a clever solution for the problem.

I think this game a great way to try out programming constructs and have fun with it. The course also has tests and other programming assignments. I remember that I was often annoyed doing them for it fits not my way of learning. They are dry and boring for a more intuitive person. Children generally have a more intuitive way of learning, so that this game is very useful in teaching elder children, but also people who want to use programming skills in art and design.
However, the last assignment, which you can see above I did not solve. You are only allowed 4 blocks to reach the question mark. I moved forward whenever there is a straight pass and turning right was my priority whenever there was the possibility to turn, but … at one intersection the guy ought to turn left, which I could not say with just 4 blocks. I really tried a long time, but did not catch it. I think this is bad in a game. You could go to the forums for the social aspect of learning, but I did not want to be the stupid one in the round ;)
I think the game would be much better with some hints and more explanations.