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The Impact of User Interface on Young Children’s Computational Thinking

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JITE-IIP Volume 16, Number 1, ISSN 2165-3151 e-ISSN 2165-3151 Publisher: Informing Science Institute


Aim/Purpose: Over the past few years, new approaches to introducing young children to computational thinking have grown in popularity. This paper examines the role that user interfaces have on children\u2019s mastery of computational thinking concepts and positive interpersonal behaviors. Background: There is a growing pressure to begin teaching computational thinking at a young age. This study explores the affordances of two very different programming interfaces for teaching computational thinking: a graphical coding application on the iPad (ScratchJr) and tangible programmable robotics kit (KIBO). Methodology : This study used a mixed-method approach to explore the learning experiences that young children have with tangible and graphical coding interfaces. A sample of children ages four to seven (N = 28) participated. Findings: Results suggest that type of user interface does have an impact on children\u2019s learning, but is only one of many factors that affect positive academic and socio-emotional experiences. Tangible and graphical interfaces each have qualities that foster different types of learning


Sullivan, A., Bers, M. & Pugnali, A. (2017). The Impact of User Interface on Young Children’s Computational Thinking. Journal of Information Technology Education: Innovations in Practice, 16(1), 171-193. Informing Science Institute. Retrieved January 23, 2020 from .