Play & Computational Thinking (PACT)

PACT (Playing and Computational Thinking) is a joint project (UNIFR, HEIG-VD and gymnasium teachers) aiming at offering secondary school teachers in computer sciences, the opportunity to get this support through innovative resources dedicated to game-based learning and teachers professional development grounded on design-based research. Two part time (20%) research assistants (computer science and didactics of informatics) hired for the project and a group of researchers, computer scientists and teachers will collaborate for the design, the development, the implementation, the analysis and the dissemination of game-based programming education. Three categories of research questions will be addressed. They will be focused on the strategies implemented by players. We will assess (1) acceptability of the resources produced by the project: Do the students develop strategies demonstrating that they are engaged in addressing the computational challenge offered by the game? (2) Usability: Do they face difficulties? Which difficulties? And (3) Usefulness: Do they overcome difficulties? Do they manage to diminish the number of errors made? Do the strategies implemented demonstrate that the student/player has developed knowledge related to computational thinking? An original methodology based on playing analytics, a sub-field of learning analytics, will enable to address these research questions.

The expected outcomes are (1) innovative teaching resources for computational education (games and learning scenarios), (2) frameworks for innovative teaching scenarios supported by strong research results, (3) experienced teachers ready for acting as computing ambassadors and teachers trainers and (4) empirical evidences on the relevance of a game-based learning approach for computational thinking development.

This project will also strength a partnership between UNIFR and HEIG-VD and will be a starting point for an application for FNS grants.

Durée du projet

09/2018 – 08/2020


Fondation Hasler

Requérant principal

Eric SANCHEZ, Université de Fribourg.

Collaborateurs engagés dans le projet

Maud PLUMETTAZ-SIEBER(doctorante), collaboration avec la HEIG-VD (D. JACCARD et H. JAARLE) et différents collèges des cantons de Fribourg et du Valais).



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PACT- Playing & Computational Thinking

Empowering young people with computational thinking skills has been recognized as crucial to helping them understand the physical and social worlds they inhabit. On the one hand, in Switzerland, different initiatives have been taken to address this issue in secondary...