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Visual and unplugged coding lessons with smart toys

by   Sara Capecchi, et al.

Our Computer science k-12 education research group and the educational toy company Quercetti have been collaborating together to design and manufacture toys that help stimulate and consolidate so-called computational thinking. This approach is inspired by methods already consolidated in the literature and widespread worldwide such as the Bebras tasks and CS-Unplugged. This paper describes two smart toys, their design process, educational activities that can be proposed by teachers exploiting the two toys, the evaluation's results from some teachers, and finally feedback and reviews from buyers. The main activities proposed by these toys leverage visual coding through small colored physical items (e.g., pegs and balls) to deliver the unplugged activities to young users.


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