A review of Lightbot – An educational video game for the classroom

Lightbot is an educational video game for learning software-programming concepts, which was developed by Danny Yaroslavski. Lightbot is an online collaborative ICT game that can be accessed on computers, iPads, or any android device.

The goal of Lightbot is for the user/users to command a little ‘bot’ through a maze and along the way, there are blue squares in which you have to command the ‘bot’ to light up.

Image result for light-bot and maths

Players arrange symbols on the screen to command the ‘bot’ to walk, turn, jump, and switch on a light etc. The maze and the list of symbols become more complicated as the lessons progress. Players learn programming concepts like loops, procedures and more.

This ICT tool offers collaborative learning to students.

Below is the link to a video that provides an insight to how Lightbot works.

lightbot

CONTEXT

Lightbot can be used within the classroom, either collaboratively or individually to programme the ‘bot’. Students in primary school will be able use this exposure to programming and coding as a springboard to later ICT applications.

The game can be hooked up to the Interactive White Board (IWB) for the teacher to model and guide the students while they are on their own iPads. The IWB and Lightbox can also be used in a whole class setting to collaboratively program the instructions.

Lightbox can help introduce mathematical concepts such as patterns and sequencings in the classroom setting whilst promoting the use of using and apply technology.

WHY

Microsoft chairman Bill Gates says that: “Learning to write programs stretches your mind and helps you think better, creates a way of thinking about things that I think is helpful in all domains”. Many articles and blogs concur that coding is good for kids, this is an enlightening video to watch.

coding

Educators can use Lightbot when they are introducing their students to programming, coding and computer science.

Students will acquire programming concepts and terminology such as proceduresloops, and conditionals. Common

Common Sense Media reviewed Lightbot and reported that “students will learn that even though there’s often more than one way to solve a problem (or write a program), cleaner and more efficient solutions are preferred; here, those are rewarded with stars”.

In Math, patterns and sequences knowledge and skills will be reinforced through actively engaging in Lightbot using ITC. As it is an online game, students will be motivated and their attention will more likely be extended as they reinforce their thinking & reasoning skills. Logic, problem solving, strategy and thinking critically are lifelong skills that will be transferred to many different areas and contexts of their learning and lives.

These skills are essential, as recognised by The Australian Curriculum and The Melbourne Declaration on Educational Goals for Young Australians (MCEETYA 2008) which states that critical and creative thinking are fundamental to students becoming successful learners. Furthermore, twenty-first century learning theories, such as Gardner’s five ‘minds’ for the future, highlight the significance of supporting authentic and ubiquitous learning, and ensuring students are provided with opportunities, resources and environments to enhance their creative and critical thinking skills.

Learners need to develop the skills to analyse and respond to authentic situations through inquiry, imagination and innovation such as those offered by ICT tools like Lightbot.

However, as Chin Wei, Chang states in her blog, the use of ICT in education depends on how teacher integrate their skills into the teaching and learning process and how they develop ICT in an interactive education environment.

Thanks for reading 🙂

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