Investigating eighth graders' development of text-based scripting skills and their intrinsic motivation through game construction curriculum: a case study
Game construction learning approaches have seen increased interest for computational learning and digital literacy in K-12 education, but the paucity of research on game text-based scripting skill development identifies a gap in the literature. This case study investigated text-based scripting skill development and intrinsic motivation with a class of eighth grade students who were engaged in game construction. The study participants were 20 students and their teacher. The case involved the open-ended, project-based game construction class. Data sources included classroom observations, teacher and student interviews, survey responses, and student game scripts. The findings showed that engaging in game construction with peer collaboration and teacher support helped the students develop scripting skills. Game scripting skill development involved the use of language arts and mathematic skills. Challenges in game scripting included student debugging difficulties, as well as technology issues that distracted the students from their work with battery charging problems, Wi-Fi connectivity drops, and broken computers. The students showed moderate intrinsic motivation toward text-based scripting in game construction and appeared to prefer design artwork to scripting. Implications suggest that developing game scripting skills promoted the practice of language arts literacy and mathematics concepts. Game scripting was an engaging self-directed autonomous learning experience. Text-based scripting development is suggested to be a distinct digital literacy.