PROGRAMMING FOR YOUNG CHILDREN USING TANGIBLE TILES AND CAMERA-ENABLED HANDHELD DEVICES
1 FEUP (PORTUGAL)
2 INESC Tec + FEUP (PORTUGAL)
About this paper:
Conference name: 11th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 12-14 November, 2018
Location: Seville, Spain
Abstract:Teaching children to program has several advantages, even more so due to the ubiquity of technology.
This has been recognized by schools and early age programming has entered educational curricula.
On the side of the students, difficulties in learning how to program include abstract thinking, algorithms and language constructs.
Regarding the side of the school and the teacher, difficulties include insufficient availability of technology, as many schools do not have enough PCs for all students to use for long periods or in several classes. Most likely, schools will adopt (less expensive) tablets and many students will be early adopters of smartphones that are usable for education in the classroom.
Inexpensive devices are typically small screen, no keyboard, handheld devices and may belong to the school or the student. Using common PC tools for programming in handheld devices is awkward and frustrating. A (large) number of visual solutions exist but are hard to manipulate in small screens, are not very flexible and many do not produce generic code, usable elsewhere outside the programming environment.
The full article will present an innovative programming system based on tangible tiles. Using a camera from a smartphone or tablet, a photo is taken and processed resulting in source code that can be sent to several destinations, such as internal execution, cloud repository, a shared PC or other devices.
The article will also present results from a small test group. The results hint that tangible programming improves teamwork and cooperative coding that is otherwise very hard in a handheld device.
It is expected that the proposed method will improve the difficulties of the schools and improve the overall learning experience.
Keywords: Programming, Programming Teaching, Programming Learning, Technology, Technologies for Education, Technology in the classroom.