Entering the Clubhouse: Case Studies of Young Programmers Joining the Online Scratch Communities

Entering the Clubhouse: Case Studies of Young Programmers Joining the Online Scratch Communities

Yasmin B. Kafai (University of Pennsylvania, USA), Deborah Fields (University of California, Los Angeles, USA) and William Q. Burke (University of Pennsylvania, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-0140-6.ch013
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Abstract

Previous efforts in end-user development have focused on facilitating the mechanics of learning programming, leaving aside social and cultural factors equally important in getting youth engaged in programming. As part of a 4-month long ethnographic study, we followed two 12-year-old participants as they learned the programming software Scratch and its associated file-sharing site, scratch.mit.edu, in an after-school club and class. In our discussion, we focus on the role that agency, membership, and status played in their joining and participating in local and online communities of programmers.
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Background

Traditionally end-user development has been concerned with professionals and how they can customize tools to accomplish their work. Much of the research has either studied what problems end-user designers encounter in this process or how to design tools that would be supportive of their endeavors (e.g., Lieberman, Paterno, & Wulf, 2006). This research has been largely separate from efforts that have covered the same territory, albeit with young end-users, in school contexts. Here end-user development has been concerned with designing environments and tools that support novices in learning of programming (Guzdial, 2004). Ultimately, end-user development for professionals was seen as facilitating the modification of tools, whereas the focus for youth was on designing tools for ease-of-use, taking into account the differences in motivation, background, and developing expertise between young learners and adult professionals (Soloway, Guzdial, & Hay, 1994).

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