As of September 2016, computer programming is part of the official program in French middle schools. Many teachers, who do not have any training in computer science, are therefore in need of tools to help them. It is in this context that we designed TurtleTable, a Learning Games that has two main originalities.
First of all, unlike most of the existing applications, this game is not based on activities where one has to write a computer program. Instead, the players have to execute a given program, step by step, just like a computer. These two approaches are complementary and necessary to understand the logic of computer programming.
Secondly, TurtleTablet is played by manipulating tangible objects on interactive tables or a tablet. The players need to move their objects on a grid, by following the instructions of the program on the screen. The game indicates if the instructions are carried correctly, in real time, allowing the learners to understand their mistakes.
TurtleTablet has 20 levels that progressively introduce computer programming concepts:
- Basic instructions (move forward backwards and turn)
- Conditional instructions
Our research objective is to design interactions that enhance collaboration between students.
We therefore compared several versions of TurtleTablet with different interaction modes:
- Tactile Interactions on Interactive Table
- Tangible Objects on Interactive Table
- Tactile Interactions on Tablet
- Tangible Objects on Tablet
- Keyboard and mouse interactions on a computer
The experimentation carried out with more than 100 middle-school students (La Salle and Sainte Thérèse middle school in laval) show that the versions with Tangible Objects (on interactive tables and on tablets) greatly enhance collaboration and the encourage the students to help each other.
Iza Marfisi-Schottman, Sébastien George, Marc Leconte. TurtleTable: Learn the Basics of Computer Algorithms with Tangible Interactions. Games and Learning Alliance Conference, GALA, Dec 2018, Palermo, Italy. <hal-01949520>
Sébastien George, Iza Marfisi-Schottman, Marc Leconte. TurtleTable : apprendre les bases de la programmation avec des interfaces tangibles. Atelier Apprentissage Instrumenté de l’Informatique, Orphee RDV, Jan 2017, Font-Romeu, France. <hal-01938542>
Article publié à Didapro8, février 2020, à venir.
Download TurtleTablet !
The Android App can be downloaded here: link available in February 2020
The guides for creating the tangible objects in cardboard or with a 3D printer are available her (in French): GuidesConstructionPiecesTurtleTablet
We thank our partner Volumique for providing us with the API that allows the tablet to recognize the tangible objects: https://volumique.com
Interns who have participated in the project :
Evant MOTTAIS, stage de DUT informatique, IUT de laval, 2017
Baptiste JAMET, stage de DUT informatique, IUT de laval, 2019
Quentin HERMANN, stage de Master Science de l’éducation, Université de Nantes, 2020 et 2021