The Effect of Tangible Augmented Reality Interfaces on Teaching Computational Thinking: A Preliminary Study

  • Anna GardeliEmail author
  • Spyros Vosinakis
Conference paper
Part of the Advances in Intelligent Systems and Computing book series (AISC, volume 916)


Teaching introductory computer science is gradually shifting from learning a computer programming language towards acquiring more generic computational thinking skills. At the same time, more emphasis is placed nowadays in natural and playful approaches that can potentially increase student motivation and engagement. One promising such approach is the combination of tangible elements with augmented reality technology, where the instructions can be given in the real world by manipulating physical elements, and the output is presented in a digitally enhanced space. Despite its potential, this approach has not yet been evaluated in formal educational settings. In this paper we present the results from a preliminary study in an elementary school that compared a tangible AR game with the same game in an unplugged version, to examine the effect of the interface on student motivation, effectiveness and teaching practice. The results indicate that a tangible AR approach can improve the engagement and collaboration of students in classroom activities and affects the role of the instructor compared to unplugged activities. The paper concludes with a number of open issues that need to be further studied.


Computational thinking Physical programming Augmented reality Unplugged activities 


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Product and Systems Design EngUniversity of the AegeanMytileneGreece

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