’Programme your Castle’, the course created by USI Bachelor students selected by ’Hour of Code’

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Hour of Code has selected the introduction to programming course "Programme Your Castle", created by Bachelor students of USI Faculty of Informatics, an international introduction to informatics initiative.

Hour of Code is a project to introduce millions of students to an hour of computer programming. Every year, during the week of Grace Hopper’s birthday (a leading figure in computer science born on 9 December 1906: she invented the first compiler and coined the term ’bug’), teachers from around the world encourage over ten million students to pick one of the programming tutorials listed on the and work on it.

Thanks to USI’s call for teaching innovation projects, Professor Matthias Hauswirth of the Faculty of Informatics has launched the "Programme Your Castle" project: a one-hour introductory tutorial in Python developed by a group of USI Bachelor students. The project, conceived in the medieval castles of Bellinzona, began with the construction of toy castles, continued with the collaborative development of visual components of the castle with PyTamaro and the choice of programming concepts to be transmitted, and concluded with the development of activities and their sequence and finally testing with users.

"I think it’s wonderful that our USI Bachelor’s students in Informatics will join the ranks of NASA, Microsoft, Minecraft and many international ed-tech companies and that their creations will be included in the event that around 10 million students will visit!" said Professor Matthias Hauswirth.

The "Program Your Castle" tutorial (also available entirely in Italian, tutorial: https://pytamaro.si.usi.ch/­hoc/castle , teacher’s notes: https://pytamaro.si.usi.ch/hoc/­castle/tea­cher-notes ) provides a playful, self-guided one-hour introduction to programming in Python, based on a solid theoretical foundation. The tutorial was created by USI Bachelor students Agnese Zamboni, Davide Frova, Giorgia Lillo and Jamila Oubenali. It is based on PyTamaro, the platform for teaching programming developed by USI PhD candidate Luca Chiodini at LuCE, the research group on informatics education of the Software Institute. Luca Chiodini recently presented PyTamaro at SPLASH-E and is currently analysing the results of a study conducted in collaboration with our research partners at Aalto University in Finland. PyTamaro is used by informatics teachers in several high schools in Switzerland.