E-Block: A Tangible Programming Tool with Graphical Blocks

Article English OPEN
Wang, Danli ; Zhang, Yang ; Chen, Shengyong (2013)
  • Publisher: Hindawi Publishing Corporation
  • Journal: Mathematical Problems in Engineering (issn: 1024-123X, eissn: 1563-5147)
  • Related identifiers: doi: 10.1155/2013/598547
  • Subject: TA1-2040 | Mathematics | Engineering (General). Civil engineering (General) | QA1-939 | Article Subject

This paper designs a tangible programming tool, E-Block, for children aged 5 to 9 to experience the preliminary understanding of programming by building blocks. With embedded artificial intelligence, the tool defines the programming blocks with the sensors as the input and enables children to write programs to complete the tasks in the computer. The symbol on the programming block's surface is used to help children understanding the function of each block. The sequence information is transferred to computer by microcomputers and then translated into semantic information. The system applies wireless and infrared technologies and provides user with feedbacks on both screen and programming blocks. Preliminary user studies using observation and user interview methods are shown for E-Block's prototype. The test results prove that E-Block is attractive to children and easy to learn and use. The project also highlights potential advantages of using single chip microcomputer (SCM) technology to develop tangible programming tools for children.
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