Conceptual Foundations for Interactive Programming Activities with the Conjunction of Scratch4OS and Open Sim

Conceptual Foundations for Interactive Programming Activities with the Conjunction of Scratch4OS and Open Sim

Pellas Nikolaos (University of the Aegean, Greece)
Copyright: © 2015 |Pages: 11
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-5888-2.ch469
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The widespread utilization of innovative learning environments for Computer Science in general and Programming courses in particular are largely well known. The promotion and best acquisition of basic algorithmic concepts for developing and strengthening the students’ analytical-synthetic thinking skills in problem-solving situations is a demanding issue. By formulating conditions and causal relations for teaching basic concepts, scholars should try to create insightful learning scenarios for Computer science education. For a typical teaching intervention of students in algorithmic commands lessons, they always need to learn and visualize their actions in a suitable and stable environment.

During the last thirty years, several doubts about the added value of programming courses were highlighted, mainly in the cognitive research domain. However, teaching basic programming structures considered as an effective issue, which can be efficiently applied to other scientific fields, like Mathematics, Physics and Logic (Papert, 1980) with the acquisition of problem-solving skills to be the most important aspect of this process. Papert (1980) was the first theorist who argued that programming languages should provide to users an environment with an easily manageable interface surface (low-floor), where they can easily understand its’ functions and they must define a broader framework for their active participation. This may allow them to exploit the highly interactive (high-ceiling) capabilities of multimedia content offered through more complex creations in a programming environment. Moreover, the technological infrastructure should support different and more complex types of projects (wide-walls) based on users’ different interests and needs in order to share their works with others. Of course, it is very difficult to achieve the triptych low-floor/high-ceiling/wide-walls in a single environment.

Although, this intervention presents a variety of problems for the formulation and use of a programming language it should be included drafting the details of how programming commands can be visualized in a programming environment. Indicative results of previous studies have emphasized in some interesting features such as (Harms et al., 2013; Feng & Chen, 2014):

  • 1.

    The students’ misconceptions in understanding and implementing programming structures without the simultaneous execution of actions and commands by using the Logo language in Primary and Secondary education.

  • 2.

    The problems of how to better handle students the graphical user interface (GUI) in order to implement programming concepts.

  • 3.

    The maintenance of a learning environment for the coordination and organization of information that is being emerged during the teaching process designed in object-oriented settings.

  • 4.

    The lack of an efficient instructional format with the use of more “traditional” (face-to-face/in-classroom) teaching methods which have caused some difficulties, such as the design to find students a solution for different problem required collaboration among participants in order to understand different commands and how these can be implemented in a programming environment.

The pedagogical utilization of innovative two-dimensional (2D) and open source three-dimensional (3D) technologically-advanced environments (see virtual worlds-VWs) whose main feature is the open code integration and extensive use of programming elements is until today an interesting research field. In this contemporary era, the technological progress of learning environments has performed them not only as candidate platforms to observe students’ exponentially increased maintenance, but also as an effort to interconnect 2D and 3D learning environments which have tailored to the needs and requirements of “Net Generation” (students as “digital immigrants”). By learning basic algorithmic commands, students can strengthen their technological literacy in well-identified constructive activities by involving them with cognitive elements via a multi-dimensional conceptual framework.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Engagement: The user’s state of action and contemplation towards a set of stimuli or conceptually interrelated activities or events in a virtual environment.

Cognitive Overload: This term is usually accumulated for the information that each user obtains during her/his introduction in a new platform or environment.

Interaction: The potential adaptation in the virtual world according to user’s actions in real time.

Net Generation: With this term students defined as “digital immigrants.” Usually this comes from their utilization with innovative platforms which are widespread and specifically referred to their needs and demands, basically for collaboration and communication with others with the same age in a virtual world.

Web 2.0: The Web 2.0 goes beyond to the limited computer-generated platform, where users can perform on collaborative Web-based applications like Facebook, Twitter or YouTube.

Avatar: The on-screen persona that represents user’s alter-ego as he/she interacts in the VW with others.

Virtual World: Three dimensional (3D) artificial immersive spaces or places that simulate real-world spatial awareness in a virtually-rich persistent workflow.

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