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Title: Impact of used programming language for K-12 students' understanding of the loop concept

Authors: Monika Mladenović; Saša Mladenović; Žana Žanko

Addresses: Faculty of Science, University of Split, Ruđera Boškovića 33, 21000 Split, Croatia ' Faculty of Science, University of Split, Ruđera Boškovića 33, 21000 Split, Croatia ' Elementary School "Mejaši", Mejaši 20, 21 000 Split, Croatia

Abstract: Block-based programming languages are becoming a favourite learning tool for programming novices while the traditional way of teaching programming mostly uses text-based programming languages. The purpose of this study was to compare the impact of used visual and textual programming languages on K-12 students' understanding of the loop concept. Participants were 312 elementary school students from 5th to 8th grade using visual programming language Scratch (n = 59), and textual programming languages Logo (n = 185) and Python (n = 68). Tests for all languages were equivalent, differing only in the used programming language. Results showed that students achieved statistically significant higher scores when using block-based programming language compared to students using textual programming languages. These results show that K-12 students need concrete experience to understand abstract concepts, as the loop concept, which Scratch as a block-based programming language provides.

Keywords: programming; loop; elementary school; Scratch; text-based programming languages.

DOI: 10.1504/IJTEL.2020.103817

International Journal of Technology Enhanced Learning, 2020 Vol.12 No.1, pp.79 - 98

Received: 08 Jun 2018
Accepted: 11 Oct 2018

Published online: 18 Oct 2019 *

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