To block or not to block, that is the question: Students' perceptions of blocks-based programming

David Weintrop, Uri Wilensky

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

180 Scopus citations

Abstract

Blocks-based programming tools are becoming increasingly common in high-school introductory computer science classes. Such contexts are quite different than the younger audience and informal settings where these tools are more often used. This paper reports findings from a study looking at how high school students view blocks-based programming tools, what they identify as contributing to the perceived ease-of-use of such tools, and what they see as the most salient differences between blocksbased and text-based programming. Students report that numerous factors contribute to making blocks-based programming easy, including the natural language description of blocks, the drag-anddrop composition interaction, and the ease of browsing the language. Students also identify drawbacks to blocks-based programming compared to the conventional text-based approach, including a perceived lack of authenticity and being less powerful. These findings, along with the identified differences between blocks-based and text-based programming, contribute to our understanding of the suitability of using such tools in formal high school settings and can be used to inform the design of new, and revision of existing, introductory programming tools. Copyright is held by the owner/author(s).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationProceedings of IDC 2015
Subtitle of host publicationThe 14th International Conference on Interaction Design and Children
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery, Inc
Pages199-208
Number of pages10
ISBN (Electronic)9781450335904
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 21 2015
Event14th International Conference on Interaction Design and Children, IDC 2015 - Boston, United States
Duration: Jun 21 2015Jun 24 2015

Publication series

NameProceedings of IDC 2015: The 14th International Conference on Interaction Design and Children

Other

Other14th International Conference on Interaction Design and Children, IDC 2015
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityBoston
Period6/21/156/24/15

Keywords

  • Blocks-based programming
  • High school computer science education
  • Perceptions of programming

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Education
  • Software

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