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The Scientific World Journal
Volume 2014 (2014), Article ID 428080, 10 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2014/428080
Research Article

A Tangible Programming Tool for Children to Cultivate Computational Thinking

1Beijing Key Lab of Human-Computer Interaction, Institute of Software, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100190, China
2Chongqing Medicine Exchange Co., Ltd., Chongqing 404100, China

Received 21 August 2013; Accepted 16 December 2013; Published 25 February 2014

Academic Editors: C. Esposito and O. Greevy

Copyright © 2014 Danli Wang et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Game and creation are activities which have good potential for computational thinking skills. In this paper we present T-Maze, an economical tangible programming tool for children aged 5–9 to build computer programs in maze games by placing wooden blocks. Through the use of computer vision technology, T-Maze provides a live programming interface with real-time graphical and voice feedback. We conducted a user study with 7 children using T-Maze to play two levels of maze-escape games and create their own mazes. The results show that T-Maze is not only easy to use, but also has the potential to help children cultivate computational thinking like abstraction, problem decomposition, and creativity.