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MINT meets Games: Realschule stu­dents design com­puter games

16.02.2023, Study :

Getting school students creatively excited about the subject of computer science: That was the goal of a five-day workshop held at Neu-Ulm University of Applied Sciences (HNU) from the end of January to the beginning of February 2023. Under the guidance of HNU lecturers Prof. Michael Hebel, Prof. Guido Kühn and Sebastian de Andrade, the 21 participants designed, created and programmed their own computer game.

The project, developed in the Games Production and Management (GPM) program in collaboration with the Realschule Herrsching secondary school, used the medium of games to introduce students to computer science in everyday practice as part of the STEM subjects taught at Bavarian schools. The basic idea behind the project is that, in view of the challenges posed by digitization, creativity and an understanding of computer science increase the chances of successfully asserting oneself on the job market in the future. These are the skills that today's students should be given.

Creativity meets information technology

In a workshop, the didactic approach of getting 7th to 10th grade students excited about computer science by collaboratively designing their own computer games - creativity meets computer science - was examined. Under the direction of HNU lecturers Prof. Michael Hebel, Prof. Guido Kühn and Sebastian de Andrade in collaboration with MINT representative StRin Christina Böhm and her colleague StR Ondrej Hilbert (both Realschule Herrsching), 15 boys and six girls from Realschule Herrsching designed, created and programmed their own computer game in five days, from the idea to the finished program. They were explicitly introduced to programming and tools of computer science in project lessons and implicitly familiarized with the basic creative processes of collaborative design.

Great encouragement from the pupils

In addition to the successful achievement of the seminar's goal, statements such as "I find it exciting that you draw and program," "I was able to implement my ideas," or "Doing something together with others was fun" attested to the students' approval of the format. The conclusion of the five-day workshop - two days online and three days in presence at the HNU -: 21 satisfied participants with 10 functioning computer games and an overall project that will be submitted for the state teaching award MINT-21digital, an initiative at Bavarian secondary schools.

Prof. Michael Hebel
Prof. Guido Kühn