Tangible programming in the classroom: A practical approach

Michael S. Horn*, Robert J K Jacob

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

21 Scopus citations


This paper introduces Quetzal, a tangible programming language for children to use in educational settings. Quetzal features inexpensive, durable parts with no embedded electronics or power supplies. Children create programs in offline settings-on their desks or on the floor-and carry their programs to a scanning station when they are ready to compile. We argue that a language like Quetzal could offer an appealing and practical alternative to conventional languages for introducing programming concepts in the classroom. This paper discusses the motivations for the Quetzal project and describes the design and implementation of the language. We also outline several key questions that are guiding our research with Quetzal.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationCHI'06 Extended Abstracts on Human Factors in Computing Systems, CHI EA'06
Number of pages6
StatePublished - 2006
EventConference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, CHI EA 2006 - Montreal, QC, Canada
Duration: Apr 22 2006Apr 27 2006

Publication series

NameConference on Human Factors in Computing Systems - Proceedings


OtherConference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, CHI EA 2006
CityMontreal, QC


  • Children
  • Education
  • Programming languages
  • Tangible UIs

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Computer Graphics and Computer-Aided Design


Dive into the research topics of 'Tangible programming in the classroom: A practical approach'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this