Posted in creativity, curriculum, education, learning, technology

Can Doctor Who’s web game teach kids programming?

A new CBBC game was launched yesterday with the intention of making coding fun.

Doctor Who’s latest adventure, which is aimed at 6-12-year olds, sees him trying to save the universe with a Dalek. The underlying intention of getting children interested in computer programming.

With nine nephews and nieces, ranging from one to fifteen-years-old, I am fascinated to see how compelled they are by technology. I was particularly amazed to see my eighteen month-old niece remembering her dad’s password for his mobile phone, and taking over my game of Candy Crush once she realised my attention was not on her. This may be due to her father being interested by computers, and now having a career in that field. However, could it be from integrating technology so much into our daily lives that we cannot help passing on our supposed addictions to our children?

TV has always been a way to fill evenings, and with the amount of viewers, including children, watching Doctor Who, the ever-changing role models have influenced children into being fascinated by time-travel and historical events.

Doctor Who bridged the gap between education and entertainment in an easily-viewed 45 minute slot before children’s bedtimes. They continued their success with online games, creative craft ideas, and episode clips. As this programme has gained so many fans and interest, why wouldn’t they want to use their powers for good?

So many jobs insist on having computer knowledge, and available developing jobs are at their highest due to most companies needing websites and resources. Computing languages are becoming incredibly important skills, and Doctor Who has noticed that.

There are many educational websites which have blossomed after including games and puzzles, as children are more likely to learn something if they are entertained at the same time. It’s the same for cake – hide various vegetables inside, slop over some sugary icing, and they’ll never know.

From playing the new online game, I could see the basics of variables, loops, and logical reasoning, whilst making the adventure appealing for kids. But why is programming perceived as boring? I have personally always been interested in it, but that could have been from my brother as well.

I suppose the real question should be: why do we have to dilute the “boringness” of computer programming with an engaging game? After learning the basics, they would still have to carry on beyond the game’s capabilities. Should games be used as a way to get people to learn, if all our time is spent trying to get them off their computers?

So, is it the case that if we can’t beat them, we should join them? Do we have to sugar-coat education for children to make them interested in programming?

I am not sure it will make its way into schools as it is a game, even though it does encompass some of the key skills that make up the new computing curriculum. However, if Doctor Who thinks he can convince children to like programming, we may as well give it a try.

You can find out about the brand new primary computing curriculum on TheSchoolBus!


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