We love the idea of [Amos]’s Tangible Programming project. It reminds us of those great old Radioshack electronics labs where the circuitry concepts took on a physical aspect that made them way easier to digest than abstractions in an engineering textbook.
MIT Scratch teaches many programming concepts in an easy to understand visual way. However, fundamentally people are tactile creatures and being able to literally feel and see the code laid out in front could be groundbreaking for many young learners. Especially those with brains that favor physical touch and interaction such as ADHD or Asperger’s minds.
The boards are color-coded and communicate via an I2C bus. Each board’s logic and communication is handled by an ATTiny or ATMega. The current processing is visible through LEDs or even an OLED display. Numbers are input either through thumbwheel switches or jumpers.
The code concepts will, of course, be simple and focused due to the physical nature of the blocks. Integer arithmetic, simple loops, and if/else conditionals. Quite a lot of concepts can be built around this and it could be a natural diving board into the aforementioned Scratch and eventually an easy to learn language like python.