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Creating Educational Games with Pair programming and Scratch

by Darko Dugosija last modified May 20, 2010 05:05 PM

Organizer Name

Irena Nančovska Šerbec, Jože Rugelj

Short Description

Educational games are games that have been specifically designed to teach players about a certain subject, expand concepts, reinforce development, understand an historical event or culture, or assist them in learning a skill as they play.

Scratch is an educational programming language with graphical interface, created as a tool which would make programming easy and intuitively understandable. Its purpose is to allow students without any programming experience to learn the basic principles programming. It will be used to develop fun and educational projects, as prototypes for educational games. We will present how students could achieve competences related to educational games programming by using teaching method “pair programming”. Pair programming (PP) differs from standard methods (individual work, seminars, projects etc.). It belongs to the extreme programming as a discipline of software development and is known to have positive effects on teaching first programming language.

Our goal is to realize teaching pair programming experiment, as a technique based on collaboration, with aim to improve students’ programming skills by shearing ideas and control on the developing code. Student pairs are more self -sufficient which reduces their reliance on the teaching staff. Qualitatively, paired students demonstrate higher order thinking skills than students who work alone. The results are in general positive and demonstrate the promising usage of this collaborative learning technique in the introductory programming courses.

Before the experiment students will be explained basis of Scratch and the exact rules of PP technique. After the experiment they pairs will submit their projects, reflect on the peers’ projects and fulfill questionnaire on the attitude of students towards PP, as teaching method.

Lecturer Biography

Irena Nančovska Šerbec
Home page:

Irena Nančovska Šerbec is assistant professor at Faculty of Education University of Ljubljana. She finished her graduate and postgraduate studies at the Faculty of Computer and Information Science, University of Ljubljana, Slovenia. She got her Ph.D. degree from the field of electrical engineering at the Faculty of Electrical Engineering, University of Ljubljana. Her fields of research are modelling in the education (with emphasis on machine learning modelling), ICT in education, teaching programming, system identification and time series regression. In the past she participated in many projects from the field of meteorology; national projects on including ICT into teaching and learning, EU and bilateral projects. Recently she is involved in two EU projects: ESPANT and SELEAG.

Jože Rugelj
Home page: http://

Assoc. Prof. Dr. Joze Rugelj started his research work in 1985at the J. Stefan Institute in Ljubljana, the leading institute of technology in Slovenia, in the field of distributed microcomputer systems for process control and on communication protocols. In 1989 he was awarded an EU grant for one year doctoral studies at the Joint Research Centre of the EC in Ispra, Italy, which was later extended for six months. In JRC he started to investigate protocols for group communications in the CSCW environment and design of distributed computer supported co-operative working environments. After return to JSI in 1990 he continued my research in the field of protocols for group communications in the CSCW environment. When he was invited to give lectures at the University of Ljubljana he extended his research to Computer Supported Collaborative Learning and to different aspects of application of ICT to education. He published over 15 papers in international journals, 70 papers in conference proceedings and 15 chapters in monographies.
From 1993 he gives lectures at the University of Ljubljana, Faculty of education and Faculty of computer science and informatics. He was co-author of a 4-year undergraduate study programme on Computer science for teachers at the Faculty of Education, which started in 1996. From 1997 he worked as an assistant professor and from 2002 as an associate professor at the Faculty of Education at the University of Ljubljana and he gives courses on computer communications, hypertext and multimedia, and use of ICT in education.

He was actively involved in preparation of postgraduate (M.Sc. and Ph.D.) programme in Teaching, where he teaches a course on ICT in education. He also participates in M.Sc./Ph.D. study program on the Faculty of Computer science and informatics with a course on CSCW and he is currently coordinating preparation of Master program “Computer science in education”. At the moment he is supervisor of 4 M.Sc. and 3 Ph.D. students, while 2 of his students already finished Ph.D. studies.

He has been co-ordinator of national research projects from 1992 (4 projects) and national co-ordinator in 8 international (mainly EU) projects since 1995. Currently he is national coordinator of the EU Erasmus LLP project entitled European Study Programme for Advanced Networking Technologies (ESPANT), 142015-LLP-1-2008-1-BE-ERASMUS-ECDEM, and EU Comenius Lifelong Learning Programme, project Serious Learning Games (SELEAG), 503900-LLP-1-2009-1-PT-COMENIUS-CMP.
In 1999 and 2000 he was deputy head of the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science at the Faculty of Education. From 2002 he is a Head of the Chair of computer science and computer science didactics at the Faculty of Education. He was elected vice dean of the Faculty of education (200 teaching staff and around 2600 undergraduate and postgraduate students) in 2001. In 2003, in 2005 and in 2007 he was re-elected for another two years mandate.

Reading List

Resnick, M., at all (2009). Scratch : Programming for all, Communications on ACM, Vol. 52, Iss. 11; 60. (retrieved from

Resnick, M. (2007). All I really need to know (about creative thinking) I learned (by studying how children learn) in kindergarten. Proceedings of the 6th ACM SIGCHI conference on Creativity & cognition - C&C '07, 1-6. New York, New York, USA: ACM Press. doi: 10.1145/1254960.1254961.(retrieved form )

Williams, L., & Kessler, R. (2000). All I really need to know about pair programming I learned in kindergarten. Communications of the ACM, 3(5), 108-114. ACM. Retrieved from (retrieved

Nančovska Šerbec, I., Kaučič, B., & Rugelj, J. (2008). Pair programming as a modern method of teaching computer science. Int. j.: emerg. technol. learn., vol. 3, s2, 45-49.

Other Material

Shared slides:

Pre-Summer School events planned

• Downloading and installation of Scratch
• Reading of articles.

• Exercises to be programmed in Scratch (Exercises_PP_2010_angl.pdf)

Post-Summer School events planned

Publishing of Scratch projecs.

Expected outcomes/objectives

We expect the participants to develop skills for collaborative work (PP) and develop algorithmic thinking through game programming.Max. number of participants and technical equipment neededThe number of participants is related to number of computers used in the workshop. On each computer should work 2 participants.
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