Teaching Physical Computing in Family Workshops
uation has also been confirmed by post-class surveys in which the
workshop was highly rated: on a scale of 1 (poor) to 4 (excellent),
the participant’s average ratings were 4 (median) for the workshop
in general. Most of the children also considered the workshop easy
and fun. The parents also expressed very positive feedback indicating that they very much liked participating in the workshop.
During the workshops, participants actively take part and can
follow the instructions. And, although not measuring any kind of
experimental data on the learning impact, we observed that each
participating pair successfully programmed their robot. At the end
of the workshop most participants also think that they can make
computer programs and want to learn more about programming.
The children express their enjoyment—especially when see-
ing the robot working (e.g., lighting up its eyes)—satisfaction
and self-esteem and show their surprise that they achieved
something they thought of to be very complex. This again has
companied each child—although in a few instances a grandpar-
ent or uncle/aunt (Figure 4) served as the ‘parent’ participant.
The workshops were offered for free funded by the Google Rise
Award and governmental funding (CNPq).
All workshops have been very successful and we experienced a
much larger demand than expected. The children like the workshop a lot, expressing this in their comments: “Very cool and lot
of fun;” “I loved the workshop;” and “Incredible—it’s magic,” emphasizing especially that they appreciated learning how to make a
robot move. In the same way, parents also demonstrated their contentment, praising especially the didactic, dynamic, and active format of the workshop in which programming concepts are taught
in a creative and attractive way for the children. This positive eval-
Figure 3: Command blocks used by Scratchduino and example of a program for moving the robot’s arm (left: in Scratch, right: in Snap!)