A controlled experiment comparing plugged first and unplugged first programming lessons

Felienne Hermans, Ehimia Aivaloglou

Research output: Chapter in Book / Report / Conference proceedingConference contributionAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Programming education is in fashion: there are many methods, tools, books and apps to teach children programming. is gives rise to the question of how to teach programming. Do we teach the concepts with or without the use of a computer, also called plugged and unplugged respectively? is paper aims to measure what method is more eective to start with: plugged or unplugged rst. Specically, we are interested in examining which method is beer in terms of (1) facilitating understanding of programming concepts, (2) motivating and supporting the students’ sense of self-ecacy in programming tasks, and (3) motivating the students to explore and use programming constructs in their assignments. To this end we conduct a controlled study with 35 elementary school children, in which half of the children receive four plugged lessons and the other half receives four unplugged lessons. Aer this, both groups receive four weeks of Scratch lessons. e results show that aer eight weeks there was no dierence between the two groups in their mastering of programming concepts. However, the group that started with unplugged lessons was more condent of their ability to understand the concepts, i.e. demonstrated beer self-ecacy beliefs. Furthermore, the children in the unplugged rst group used a wider selection of Scratch blocks.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationWiPSCE 2017 - Proceedings of the 12th Workshop in Primary and Secondary Computing Education
EditorsPeter Hubwieser, Erik Barendsen
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery
Pages49-56
Number of pages8
ISBN (Print)9781450354288
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 8 Nov 2017
Externally publishedYes
Event12th Workshop in Primary and Secondary Computing Education, WiPSCE 2017 - Nijmegen, Netherlands
Duration: 8 Nov 201710 Nov 2017

Publication series

NameACM International Conference Proceeding Series

Conference

Conference12th Workshop in Primary and Secondary Computing Education, WiPSCE 2017
CountryNetherlands
CityNijmegen
Period8/11/1710/11/17

Keywords

  • Programming education
  • Scratch
  • Unplugged

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