K-6 Introductory Programming: Why Early Years Learning through Play Matters

Cole, E. (2019) K-6 Introductory Programming: Why Early Years Learning through Play Matters. In: International Computing Education Research Conference (ICER ’19), Toronto, ON, Canada, 12-14 Aug 2019, pp. 327-328. ISBN 9781450361859 (doi: 10.1145/3291279.3339442)

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Play-based learning improves the health of young children under the age of eight. It is essential for a child's physical, social, emotional well-being and cognitive development. Screen time and digital devices, on the other hand, remain a contentious issue at this critical period of rapid brain development. With this in mind, the increase of computing education curricula calls for cognitively appropriate pedagogy at this age and stage of a child's formal education. This thesis explores the early play experiences of one hundred young children participating in an introductory programming course. Survey data on participants early play experiences and socio-economic status (SES) was gathered and analysed in relation to their progress on the course. The lessons, delivered by non-specialist class teachers immerse children in the core concepts of computing science. Next children learn about the tools that apply the core concepts before creating solutions. Emerging findings show no relationship between participants SES status and progress. However, early play experiences do matter because the cognitive demands of block programming environments are similar to those developed through play for early literacy.

Item Type:Conference Proceedings
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Cole, Elizabeth
Authors: Cole, E.
College/School:College of Science and Engineering

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