“NovicE Tangible programmiNg Environment” (NEpTuNE).
We are introducing a didactic game designed to make programming accessible and enjoyable for preschoolers and school children from first to fourth grade. As we are all aware, teaching programming can be a challenging task for both students and educators, and the choice of appropriate tools is crucial, taking into account factors such as age appropriateness and motivational features.
NEpTuNE our didactic game addresses the challenges faced by young learners when encountering text-based programming languages, known for their strict syntax that can be intimidating to novices. Recognizing the need for a more intuitive and engaging approach, we’ve replaced traditional textual constructs with visual representations or blocks, giving rise to a visual programming languages like Scratch (VPL). However, we understand that VPLs often require interaction with technology and reading ability, which may pose barriers for younger students.
Taking a step back from technology dependence, our game integrates tangible programming languages (TPLs), utilizing physical objects such as cards or cubes. This unique approach allows children to grasp programming concepts even before they are introduced to VPLs, fostering a hands-on and unplugged learning experience. Some activities are entirely technology-free, enhancing the accessibility of programming education.
In NEpTuNE didactic game, we’ve taken innovation a step further by integrating physical objects with virtual elements of augmented reality (AR). The application, specifically developed for touch-based devices like tablets or smartphones, represents a significant advancement in creating an engaging learning experience for students exploring simple programming concepts.
Recognizing the rapid evolution of technology, we acknowledge the importance of teachers staying ahead to meet the expectations of each generation of students. NEpTuNE aims to strike a balance between unplugged activities and technology-based learning, providing a comprehensive and forward-thinking approach to programming education. By seamlessly blending physical and virtual elements, we offer an immersive and enjoyable experience that will captivate young minds and lay a strong foundation for their understanding of programming principles.
Interested in incorporating our didactic game into your kindergarten or school curriculum? Contact us to discuss training options and customized learning scenarios. We’re here to support educators in providing an engaging programming experience for students. Reach out at Faculty of Science, University of Split, to start the conversation!