Our last workshop, on Wednesday, February 4, 2015, focused on what it means to think in procedural terms–to think a little more like a computer. As part of this activity, we asked students to run an analog version of a match-3 puzzle game using physical pieces of candy. The catch was that they had to follow sets of flowcharts to model how a computer might operate the game rather than a player.
As a deliberate exercise in frustration and tedium, we wanted to emphasize the importance of learning how to translate human-level instructions to computer-level ones, which might vary based on platform or language. The flowcharts landed somewhere in between computers and humans that provided many non-programmers a better sense of what kind of thinking is needed to work in code and software. For those with more programming experience, we challenged them to reverse engineer games as a way to improve both game development and software development skills.
We will upload the workshop instructions and other materials on the site shortly!