CodeAttach: Engaging Children in Computational Thinking Through Physical Play Activities

Junnan Yu, Clement Zheng, Mariana Tamashiro, Christopher Gonzalez-millan, Ricarose Roque

Research output: Chapter in book / Conference proceedingConference article published in proceeding or bookAcademic researchpeer-review

Abstract

Many toys and kits have been developed to help cultivate computational thinking in young children in the past decade. However, a majority of these kits ask children to move a robot/character around a limited space, constraining what could otherwise be generative and creative learning experiences into pre-defined activities and challenges with uniform outcomes. How can we expand what children can program and how they can create code? In this work, we present CodeAttach, a learning kit designed to engage young children in computational thinking through physical play activities. CodeAttach consists of three parts: (1) an interactive hardware device, (2) a mobile application to program the device, and (3) supporting materials for different play activities. With CodeAttach, children can attach the device to the supporting materials or other everyday objects to create their own props for physical play. The device offers different inputs and outputs and supports children to change the rules of existing physical activities or create new activities by programming this device. We outline the principles guiding the design of CodeAttach, its initial development process, and insights from early playtest with young kids and expert researchers.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationTEI '20: Proceedings of the Fourteenth International Conference on Tangible, Embedded, and Embodied Interaction
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery (ACM)
Pages453-459
Number of pages7
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-4503-6107-1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 9 Feb 2020
Event14th International Conference on Tangible, Embedded, and Embodied Interaction, TEI 2020 - Sydney, Australia
Duration: 9 Feb 202012 Feb 2020

Conference

Conference14th International Conference on Tangible, Embedded, and Embodied Interaction, TEI 2020
Country/TerritoryAustralia
CitySydney
Period9/02/2012/02/20

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Human-Computer Interaction

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