SI Seminar by Luca Chiodini

Talk: Teaching problem decomposition with graphics

USI, Lugano, Switzerland
Thu, Mar 9, 2023

Luca Chiodini presenting “Teaching problem decomposition with graphics” at the USI Software Institute.


When kids play with LEGO, they turn a seemingly worthless heap of boring bricks into a fancy construction, just by putting the pieces together, one by one. The activity is inherently interesting, and stimulates creativity and ‘problem-solving’: skills that are the basis for programming! Unfortunately, when kids grow and start learning to program, perhaps in high school, their experience is of a very different kind. Many exercises are plainly boring, and the vast majority of students disengage and miss out on the joy of programming. To counteract this and recover students’ interest, teachers often resort to graphics and games. This is risky, because it may shift the students’ attention to painting and decorating sprites, instead of keeping them focused on programming. There is no magic formula, but how can we try to design a learning experience that is both engaging and instructive?

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