Novice Programming Environments: Lowering the Barriers, Supporting the Progression

Novice Programming Environments: Lowering the Barriers, Supporting the Progression

Judith Good (University of Sussex, UK)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-5969-6.ch001

Abstract

In 2011, the author published an article that looked at the state of the art in novice programming environments. At the time, there had been an increase in the number of programming environments that were freely available for use by novice programmers, particularly children and young people. What was interesting was that they offered a relatively sophisticated set of development and support features within motivating and engaging environments, where programming could be seen as a means to a creative end, rather than an end in itself. Furthermore, these environments incorporated support for the social and collaborative aspects of learning. The article considered five environments—Scratch, Alice, Looking Glass, Greenfoot, and Flip—examining their characteristics and investigating the opportunities they might offer to educators and learners alike. It also considered the broader implications of such environments for both teaching and research. In this chapter, the author revisits the same five environments, looking at how they have changed in the intervening years. She considers their evolution in relation to changes in the field more broadly (e.g., an increased focus on “programming for all”) and reflects on the implications for teaching, as well as research and further development.
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Introduction

In 2011, an article I wrote, entitled, “Learners at the wheel: Novice programming environments come of age” was published in the International Journal of People Oriented Programming (IJPOP). It is interesting to see how things have evolved in the intervening six years. In some cases, there have been substantial advances in terms of novice programming environments, as well as the computational thinking agenda and computer science education in general, whilst in others, the issues identified as relevant then are equally relevant now.

In the original article, I stated:

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