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Teaching Programming in Secondary Education Through Embodied Computing Platforms

Teaching Programming in Secondary Education Through Embodied Computing Platforms Pedagogy has emphasized that physical representations and tangible interactive objects benefit learning especially for young students. There are many tangible hardware platforms for introducing computer programming to children, but there is limited comparative evaluation of them in the context of a formal classroom. In this work, we explore the benefits of learning to code for tangible computers, such as robots and wearable computers, in comparison to programming for the desktop computer. For this purpose, 36 students participated in a within-groups study that involved three types of target computer platform tangibility: (1) desktop, (2) wearable, and (3) robotic. We employed similar blocks-based visual programming environments, and we measured emotional engagement, attitudes, and computer programming performance. We found that students were more engaged by and had a higher intention of learning programming with the robotic rather than the desktop computer. Furthermore, tangible computing platforms, either robot or wearable, did not affect the students performance in learning basic computational concepts (e.g., sequence, repeat, and decision). Our findings suggest that computer programming should be introduced through multiple target platforms (e.g., robots, smartphones, wearables) to engage children. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png ACM Transactions on Computing Education (TOCE) Association for Computing Machinery

Teaching Programming in Secondary Education Through Embodied Computing Platforms

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Publisher
Association for Computing Machinery
Copyright
Copyright © 2017 ACM
ISSN
1946-6226
eISSN
1946-6226
DOI
10.1145/3025013
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Pedagogy has emphasized that physical representations and tangible interactive objects benefit learning especially for young students. There are many tangible hardware platforms for introducing computer programming to children, but there is limited comparative evaluation of them in the context of a formal classroom. In this work, we explore the benefits of learning to code for tangible computers, such as robots and wearable computers, in comparison to programming for the desktop computer. For this purpose, 36 students participated in a within-groups study that involved three types of target computer platform tangibility: (1) desktop, (2) wearable, and (3) robotic. We employed similar blocks-based visual programming environments, and we measured emotional engagement, attitudes, and computer programming performance. We found that students were more engaged by and had a higher intention of learning programming with the robotic rather than the desktop computer. Furthermore, tangible computing platforms, either robot or wearable, did not affect the students performance in learning basic computational concepts (e.g., sequence, repeat, and decision). Our findings suggest that computer programming should be introduced through multiple target platforms (e.g., robots, smartphones, wearables) to engage children.

Journal

ACM Transactions on Computing Education (TOCE)Association for Computing Machinery

Published: May 23, 2017

Keywords: Ubiquitous computing

References