Impacts of Creating Smart Everyday Objects on Young Female Students' Programming Skills and Attitudes

Mazyar Seraj, Eva-Sophie Katterfeldt, Serge Autexier, Rolf Drechsler

In: The 51st ACM Technical Symposium on Computer Science Education. ACM Technical Symposium on Computer Science Education (SIGCSE-2020) March 11-14 Portland United States 2020.


In computer programming education, learning to program tangi-ble objects has become a common way to introduce programmingto young students. In an effort to address this intervention, scien-tific research has been done on the effectiveness of using tangiblehardware platforms such as robots and wearable products to teachbasic programming concepts to children. However, there is a lackof research on how young students’ attitudes and programmingskills are influenced over time, when they learn to program tangi-ble objects and make them smart. In this paper, we investigate theimpacts of using a tangible everyday object and making it smarton young female students’ attitudes towards programming and theacquisition of basic programming skills. During a 4-day non-formalprogramming workshop with 12 6t hgrade students, they were in-troduced to basic programming concepts, and learned how to applythem to turn ahouseplantinto a smart object. In a pilot study, weemployed a block-based programming environment and analyzedthe students’ trajectories of attitudes towards programming andperformance based on repeated open-ended qualitative question-naires and programming questions throughout the workshop. Theresults show that all students had high confidence regarding pro-gramming skills, regardless of creating smart objects. Furthermore,it indicates that experienced students highly valued the program-ming of tangible everyday objects compared with inexperiencedstudents. The findings of this work contribute to our understandingof how making tangible everyday objects smart can support the de-velopment of a positive attitude and keep up of interest throughouta programming workshop among girls.


German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence
Deutsches Forschungszentrum für Künstliche Intelligenz