Spotlight on PPIGers

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Jens Bennedsen

I am pleased to inform you of a recent book published by Springer-Verlag as Lecture Notes in Computer Science, Vol. 4821, State-of-the-Art Survey:

Reflections on the Teaching of Programming - Methods and Implementations
by Jens Bennedsen, Michael E. Caspersen, Michael Kölling (Eds.)
Forword by David Gries

General information about the book is available from the publisher, Springer.

If you have access to SpringerLink you can access the book online via Springerlink or you can get it from Amazon

The authors are all members of the Scandinavian Pedagogy of Programming Network (SPoP), and bring together a diverse body of experiences from the Nordic countries.

The topics addressed span a wide range of problems and solutions associated with the teaching of programming such as introductory programming courses, exposition of the programming process, apprentice-based learning, functional programming first, problem-based learning, the use of on-line tutorials, object-oriented programming and Java, the BlueJ environment to introduce programming, model-driven programming as opposed to the prevailing language-driven approach, teaching software engineering, testing, extreme programming, frameworks, feedback and assessment, active learning, technology-based individual feedback, and mini project programming exams.

Judith Good

I've recently been awarded an EPSRC grant to develop a bi-modal (graphical and textual) programming language (called Flip) which has two purposes: 1) to allow young people, when creating their own virtual role-play games, to script events in an easier (dare I say natural?!) way and 2) to try and scaffold their understanding of some of the higher level reasoning activities associated with programming. The idea is that the textual component will be designed in such a way as to mirror the way young people spontaneously describe actions and events in the games they are creating, and the graphical component will highlight higher level programmatic structures, and therefore act as aids for reasoning about the programs that have been created.

Flip will be designed to integrate with the Neverwinter Nights 2 Electron toolkit, and will complement the work being carried out by Judy Robertson on Adventure Author, who is using the same platform, but looking at issues around creativity in children's game authoring. Role-play game creation is a great area in which to investigate the development of programming and reasoning skills, and has many similarities with interactive fiction, hence Thomas' article on Inform 7 is very relevant to the design of the textual component of the programming language.

I'd be delighted to chat more about this, and I'll also be looking for a programmer on the project, so if you're interested, keep an eye on the Sussex jobs page: the advert should be up any day now!"

Andrew Ko

I recently graduated from the HCI Institute at Carnegie Mellon University in May and am now an Assistant Professor at the Information School at the University of Washington. As in my Ph.D. work, where I looked at the intersection of HCI and software development, I'll be continuing to investigate issues surrounding end-user programming and debugging.

I'm also working on some new fronts as well. I'm currently studying peoples' first encounters with source code and how that later influenced their perceived self-efficacy with technology. I'm also looking at the other side of debugging, where, after finding the logical cause of an issue, a developer needs to understand the social, organizational, domain and business rationale that constrain even a single line of code. I'll also be doing research in other areas of HCI with students involved with DUB, the University of Washington's cross-department HCI group.

If you have undergraduate or masters students looking to do a Ph.D. in these areas, send them my way! They can work with me through a number of departments on campus, including the Information School, Computer Science and Engineering, Technical Communications, or DXArts, our new center for design.

Please feel free to email Andy using: ajko (at) u.washington.edu


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