Informatics students and teachers together at the PyTamaro Summer Academy


Institutional Communication Service

28 August 2023

The PyTamaro Summer Academy was held from 14 to 18 August under the motto "Deep like Math, Creative like Art". This summer school united high school students and teachers for five days to delve into the theoretical foundations of programming through the playful dimension of computer graphics.

Organised by the Lugano Computing Education Research Lab of the Software Institute, the PyTamaro Summer Academy is part of the activities of the Faculty of Informatics to support the teaching of informatics in high schools.

The Summer Academy was attended by eight teachers - including seven women - from Ticino and German-speaking Switzerland and nine students.

"The PyTamaro approach to teaching Python programming asks learners to write a program that produces a graphic they see in the real world (such as a Swiss hiking trail sign, or the maze of the Pac-Man game). Learners first decompose the graphic into independent smaller graphics, then they write simple small pieces of code that produce those small graphics, and finally they compose those small code fragments into larger programmes that produce the overall graphic. Students practice skills such as 'pattern recognition', 'problem decomposition', and 'abstraction', which are the essence of programming." explained Matthias Hauswirth, professor at USI Faculty of Informatics and coordinator of the PYTamaro Summer Academy. 

"The PyTamaro Summer Academy put these ideas into practice. It allowed teachers to try out paper-based and computer-based techniques for teaching programming with PyTamaro to students from age 12 to 25, and it provided students with one-on-one learning experiences with a wonderful group of teachers. The entire experience was possible only thanks to a fantastic team of USI students: Luca Chiodini who designed PyTamaro as part of his PhD, Agnese Zamboni who designed a major part of the activities on our PyTamaro web site, and Davide Frova and Costanza Rodriguez Gavazzi, who joined us in guiding the students and teachers throughout this extraordinary experience."