Abstract

Teaching students programming skills at an early age is one of the most important aspects for researchers in recent decades. It may seem more practical to leverage an existing reservoir of knowledge by extending the block-based environment; which uses blocks to build apps towards text-based. Text-based is text code only, rather than starting to learn a whole new programming language [7]. To simplify the learning process, there is a new coding environment that’s been introduced named block-based environment (Pencil Code, Scratch, App inventor) that is used by millions of students.

There are some challenges teachers are facing to bring the text-based environment to the classroom. One is block-based tools do not allow students to write real-world programs [1], which limit the student’s abilities to writing only simple programs. Also, there is a big gap between the block and text-based environments. When students want to transfer from block-based to text-based, they feel that they are in a totally new environment [1]. Since block-code transition involves movement between different code styles and code representations with different syntax [7]. They move from commands with nice shapes and colors to new environments with only commands, also they have to memorize all the commands and learn the programming syntax.

We want to bridge the gap between the block-based and text-based by developing a new environment named hybrid-based, that allows the student to drag and drop block code and see real code instead of seeing it blocks only.

The study was done on 18 students, by dividing them into two groups. One group used block-based, and another group used hybrid-based, then both groups learned to write code with text-based. We found that hybrid-based environments are better than block-based environments in transferring programming skills to text-based because hybrid-based enhances the students’ abilities to learn programming foundations, code modification, memorizing commands, and syntax error comparison with block-based. Also hybrid-based reduces the learning shock [37] that students feel when they learn programming with block-based then they move to text-based because students who are using hybrid-based development environment are interacting directly with code, while block-based groups have never seen the code before.

Publication Date

4-26-2017

Document Type

Thesis

Student Type

Graduate

Degree Name

Software Engineering (MS)

Department, Program, or Center

Software Engineering (GCCIS)

Advisor

Stephanie Ludi

Advisor/Committee Member

J Scott Hawker

Advisor/Committee Member

Mohamed Wiem Mkaouer

Campus

RIT – Main Campus

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