Doctor Who’s new web game aims to teach children programming skills

Oct 20, 2014 by

Doctor Who’s latest adventure sees him teaming up with a Dalek and trying to save the universe, but also teaching children some early computer programming skills.

This isn’t a TV show, however: it’s a game due to launch on Wednesday (22 October) on the broadcaster’s CBBC website. The Doctor and the Dalek includes voice narration from current Doctor Peter Capaldi, and a new story by Phil Ford, who has written for the TV show.

The free web game is aimed at 6-12 year-olds, and involves freeing a battered Dalek from a ship of Cybermen, then building it back up to full strength through puzzles based on the programming elements of the new English computing curriculum.

Children will be combining instructions to accomplish a given goal, using variables to alter behaviour, exploring repetition and loops, and using their logical reasoning skills in order to rebuild the Dalek.

Ford’s story is set on the Sontar homeworld, which the BBC says has never been shown on-screen before, although many Doctor Who fans will be familiar with its aggressive inhabitants, the Sontarans. The action will also take players to the Cyber-tombs of Telos, last seen in a 1985 episode of the drama.

Jo Pearce, creative director of BBC Doctor Who Interactive, told The Guardian that Doctor Who showrunner Steven Moffat and executive producer Bryan Minchin were both involved in the approval process for the game. “It is part of the Doctor Who world: we don’t differentiate it,” she said.

The BBC has also created material for parents and teachers to accompany the game, which also tie in to the new computing curriculum in England.

“This touches predominantly on key stage two, but then goes in to key stage three. We wanted the game to be something that could help teachers in the classroom as well,” said Pearce. “Teachers are getting their heads around this new curriculum, so it was a big aim for us to do these teaching packs.”

via Doctor Who’s new web game aims to teach children programming skills | Technology | theguardian.com.

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