PPIG 2017 - 28th Annual Workshop
Programming Education to Preschoolers: Reflections and Observations from a Field Study
Alaaeddin Swidan, Felienne Hermans
Abstract: In recent years, there has been a rise in methods and tools dedicated to programming education for children of primary school age. In this paper, we present our experience of providing five programming sessions to a group of eleven children between four and six years. Our sessions followed problem-solving and game-playing themes and featured two newly-developed tools: the unplugged Robot Turtles, and the robotic Ozobot. The activities embed programming concepts such as the order of operations, symbolic representations, and functional abstraction. The observations show that children understood and applied concepts such as sorting, sequential operations, and functional abstraction. However, children struggle with giving directions to the object which highlights a spatial awareness limitation. Finally, we link the observations to Piaget’s theory and his limitations to thoughts for children in this age. We find that some of Piaget’s limitations such as egocentrism can explain a few observed behaviors. However, a few limitations contradict our observations such as the irreversibility and transductive reasoning.