PPIG 2010 - 22nd Annual Workshop
Evaluating Scratch to introduce younger schoolchildren to programming
Amanda Wilson, David C. Moffat
Abstract: The Scratch system was designed to enable computing novices, without much programming experience, to develop their creativity, make multimedia products, and share them with their friends and on a social media website.
It can also be used to introduce programming to novices. In this initial study, we used Scratch to teach some elementary programming to young children (eight years old) in their ICT class, for eight lessons in all. Data were recorded to measure any cognitive progress of the pupils, and any affective impact that the lessons had on them.
The children were soon able to write elementary programs, and moreover evidently had a lot of fun doing so. An interview with their teacher showed that some of the pupils did surprisingly well, beyond all expectations. While the cognitive progress is moderate, the main advantage to Scratch in this study seems to be that its enjoyability makes learning how to program a positive experience, contrary to the frustration and anxiety that so often seems to characterise the usual learning experience.