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Teaching Computer Programming to Diverse Students: A Comparative, Mixed-Methods, Classroom Research Study

Authors: Almudena Konrad, Tomás Galguera

Abstract:

Lack of motivation and interest is a serious obstacle to students’ learning computing skills. A need exists for a knowledge base on effective pedagogy and curricula to teach computer programming. This paper presents results from research evaluating a six-year project designed to teach complex concepts in computer programming collaboratively, while supporting students to continue developing their computer thinking and related coding skills individually. Utilizing a quasi-experimental, mixed methods design, the pedagogical approaches and methods were assessed in two contrasting groups of students with different socioeconomic status, gender, and age composition. Analyses of quantitative data from Likert-scale surveys and an evaluation rubric, combined with qualitative data from reflective writing exercises and semi-structured interviews yielded convincing evidence of the project’s success at both teaching and inspiring students.

Keywords: Computational thinking, computing education, computer programming curriculum, logic, teaching methods.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI): doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.1474992

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