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The BBC said Monday it would launch The Doctor and the Dalek, an online game, using Doctor Who characters and voiced by the sci-fi show’s star Peter Capaldi, to teach children basic computer programming skills.
The puzzles featured in the game are linked to the computing curriculum in the U.K. and are designed to allow children to learn core programming principles as they play, the U.K. public broadcaster said.
The game is designed to be part of the BBC’s Make It Digital initiative to inspire a new generation to get creative with digital technology. It will be available for free at bbc.co.uk/cbbc starting on Wednesday. BBC director general Tony Hall has made digital initiatives, education and diversity goals key themes of his tenure, among other things.
The game sees the 12th Doctor go on a dangerous quest in a story from Doctor Who and Wizards vs. Aliens writer Phil Ford. After answering a distress call from a Dalek, one of the Doctor’s longtime enemies, the Doctor takes his unlikely ally on a mission to save all of creation from destruction, a description of the game says.
A range of puzzles are featured throughout the game, with players having to take control of the Dalek and program it to “power up” its ability to perform a range of tasks, such as flying. Each puzzle unlocks an achievement that helps the Doctor bring the Dalek back to full strength, ensuring it can take on increasingly difficult challenges as the game progresses.
Resources accompanying the game will be available from BBC Learning at bbc.co.uk/schoolscomputing for teachers and parents to help children get the most out of the game.
Said Danny Cohen, BBC director of television: “The Doctor and the Dalek is a brand-new Doctor Who story and a fantastic game, voiced by the wonderful Peter Capaldi. It’s an excellent example of how a hugely popular BBC show can give fans something extra, while also introducing wider audiences to increasingly important skills, such as coding and programming.”
Sinead Rocks, head of BBC Learning, added: “We’re really excited about the launch of The Doctor and the Dalek as not only is it a really entertaining platform game for kids to play but it’s also a great introduction to some key principles of computer programming.”
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