Programming Computers and Robots with Playing Cards

T.G. Zimmerman and F.O. Folowosele (USA)

Keywords

HumanComputer Interfaces, Educational Software and Hardware, Software and Tools, Computers and Education

Abstract

Computers are widely used in schools, yet they are expensive, big, complex and hard to maintain. Playing cards are inexpensive, tangible objects, and popular among young children. We investigate the use of barcoded playing cards to teach primary school children programming using the Logo programming language. Students receive a deck of cards with Logo programming instructions printed on each card and create programs by arranging cards and barcode scanning them into a computer, much like batch programming before the advent of the personal computer. Using this method, in less than one hour twelve 8-10 year old students assembled, entered and ran their first Logo program, sharing one computer. The easy to read cards encourage collaboration and the single screen output compels students to observe each others results. The cards shield students from the complexity and distractions of computers, keeping students on task. Barcoded cards and scanners have also been used to launch other computer applications and program a mechanical toy robot.

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