Monday, 20 April 2015

Creative Computational Thinking blog

A new blog has been launched by Scott Turner  looking at Computational Thinking ( - the typo in the name is there on purpose). As a blog there is not a particular target audience apart from those interested in Computational Thinking or problem-solving.

At the time of writing so far there have been posts on robots, apps, and overview of Computational Thinking.

Junkbots training - 23rd February 2015

Junkbots training for University of Northampton STEM Champions on 23rd February 2015.

Training lead by Scott Turner.

(c) Linda Davis-Sinclair

(c) Linda Davis-Sinclair
For more details of the junkbots project go to:



Jannicke Madeleine Baalsrud Hauge, Ioana A. Stanescu, Sylvester Arnab, Pablo Moreno Ger, Theodore Lim, Angel Serrano-Laguna, Petros Lameras, Maurice Hendrix, Kristian Kiili, Manuel Ninaus, Sara de Freitas, Alessandro Mazzetti, Anders Dahlbom, Cristiana Degano

International Journal of Serious Games
Vol. 2 No 1
pp 29-44 


The challenge of delivering personalized learning experiences is often increased by the size of classrooms and online learning communities. Serious Games (SGs) are increasingly recognized for their potential to improve education. However, the issues related to their development and their level of effectiveness can be seriously affected when brought too rapidly into growing online learning communities. Deeper insights into how the students are playing is needed to deliver a comprehensive and intelligent learning framework that facilitates better understanding of learners' knowledge, effective assessment of their progress and continuous evaluation and optimization of the environments in which they learn. This paper discusses current SOTA and aims to explore the potential in the use of games and learning analytics towards scaffolding and supporting teaching and learning experience. The conceptual model (ecosystem and architecture) discussed in this paper aims to highlight the key considerations that may advance the current state of learning analytics, adaptive learning and SGs, by leveraging SGs as an suitable medium for gathering data and performing adaptations.

A Rating Tool for Sharing Experiences with Serious Games

A Rating Tool for Sharing Experiences with Serious Games 
M. Hendrix, P. Backlund, B. Vampula, 
International Journal of Game-Based Learning (IJGBL)
volume 4(4), pp. 1-18, 2014.

    DOI: 10.4018/ijgbl.2014100101

    The potential of Computer Games for non-entertainment purposes, such as education, is well established. A wide variety of games have been developed for the educational market, covering subjects such as mathematics and languages. However, while a growing industry developing educational games exist, the practical uptake in schools is not as high as one would expect, based on current evidence of their effectiveness. The EduGameLab project investigates causes and solutions to the relatively low level of uptake in European schools. This paper describes a rating tool for sharing experiences about educational games among educators and parents, developed in the EduGameLab project. The ambition is that sharing knowledge about how games can be used in practice will stimulate practical use and acceptance. The development of this tool is based on a metadata schema for formally describing serious games and experiences with these games.

    DOI: 10.4018/ijgbl.2014100101

    Providing Career Guidance to Adolescents through Digital Games: A Case Study

    Providing Career Guidance to Adolescents through Digital Games: A Case Study
    I. Dunwell, P. Lameras, S. de Freitas, P. Petridis, M. Hendrix, S. Arnab, K. Star, 

    International Journal of Game-Based Learning (IJGBL)
    volume 4(4), pp. 1-18, 2014.

    DOI: 10.4018/ijgbl.2014100104

    In an evolving global workplace, it is increasingly important for graduates and school-leavers to possess an understanding of the job market, their relevant skills, and career progression paths. However, both the marketplace and career paths are becoming increasingly dynamic, with employees more frequently moving between sectors and positions than was the case for previous generations. The concept of a “job for life” at a single organization is becoming less prevalent across sectors and cultures. In such a context, traditional approaches to career guidance, which often focused upon identifying a suitable occupation for adolescents at an early stage and establishing a route towards it, are being challenged with the need to communicate the value of transferrable skills and non-linear progression paths. This article explores the role digital games might play in allowing learners to develop these skills as part of a wider careers guidance programme. Through a case study of the “MeTycoon” serious game, the potential reach of such games is discussed, with 38,097 visits to the game’s website, and 408,247 views of embedded educational videos. An online survey of players (n=97) gives some insight into their opinions of the game’s impact and appeal, with positive comments regarding the design of the game and its emphasis on creating an enjoyable gaming experience whilst providing educational content.

    Friday, 27 June 2014

    Preprint: Computer Science Courses Using Laptops

    A preprint of paper to be publish in the next edition the journal Innovation in Teaching and Learning in Information and Computer Sciences (ITALICS) is now available at

    Computer Science Courses Using Laptops

    Gary HillEspen Svennevik and Scott Turner
    Department of Computing & Immersive Technologies, University of NorthamptonUK

    Corresponding author: Scott Turner, Department of Computing and Immersive Technologies, University of Northampton, UK 
    Phone: +44 (0) 1604 893028


    Traditionally computer sciences courses have been taught using laboratories full of expensive desktop computers. Although this approach may have been valid in the 80, 90s and even the early part of this decade, this paper suggests that buying, maintaining and replacing laboratories full of computers is no longer required. This paper raises the issues associated with attempting to use laptops – as thin/thick clients using virtual machines – to deliver the computer science curriculum and offers potential solutions that, in some cases, may make computer science courses at such ‘brave’ institutions more appealing.

    Read More:

    Tuesday, 17 June 2014

    Open Educational Resources: Problem solving on JORUM

     Another new Open Education Resource (OER) has been made available by the School of Science and Technology, University of Northampton.


    Author: Dr Scott Turner


    These mini lectures are intended for undergraduate computing students, for providing simple steps in problem solving before the students learn a programming language. Problem-Solving and Programming is a common first year undergraduate module on the BSc Computing Programme at the University of Northampton. This material was taken from the problem solving part of the module and provides an introduction to five topics in problem-solving.

    The resource can be found at: