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DEVELOPINGPROGRAMMINGSKILLSONDIGITALNATIVE CHILDRENTHROUGHTHEINTERACTIONWITHSMARTDEVICES MsC.Dissertation By

DEVELOPINGPROGRAMMINGSKILLSONDIGITALNATIVE

CHILDRENTHROUGHTHEINTERACTIONWITHSMARTDEVICES

MsC.Dissertation

By

JoséRafaelMoraesGarciadaRocha

Recife,

Janeirode2016

DEVELOPING PROGRAMMING SKILLS ON DIGITAL NATIVE CHILDREN THROUGH THE INTERACTION WITH SMART DEVICES

Dissertação apresentada como requisito parcial para a obtenção do título de Mestre, pelo Programa de Pós-Graduação em Ciências da Computação do Centro de Informática da Universidade Federal de Pernambuco

Orientador: Vinicius Cardoso Garcia, PhD Co-Orientadora: Taciana Pontual da Rocha Falcão, PhD

Recife, Janeiro de 2016

DEVELOPING PROGRAMMING SKILLS ON DIGITAL NATIVE CHILDREN THROUGH THE INTERACTION WITH SMART DEVICES

Dissertação apresentada como requisito parcial para a obtenção do título de Mestre, pelo Programa de Pós-Graduação em Ciências da Computação do Centro de Informática da Universidade Federal de Pernambuco

Aprovada em 15/01/2016

BANCA EXAMINADORA

PhD. Cristiano Coelho de Araújo – UFPE

PhD. Vinicius Cardoso Garcia – UFPE

PhD. Alberto Cesar Cavalcanti França – UFRPE

Recife, Janeiro de 2016

I dedicate this dissertation to my family and my wife.

Agradecimentos | Acknowledgements

Após três anos, recordar de todas as pessoas que contribuiram direta e indiretamente para a conclusão deste trabalho não é uma tarefa fácil, então tentarei fazer os devidos agradecimentos em ordem cronológica. Primeiramente, gostaria de agradecer o apoio dos meus pais, Garcia e Audrey, que me propiciaram todas as condições físicas, mentais e financeiras para que eu pudesse concluir um dos maiores desafios que decidi enfrentar. Sou muito grato também a minha irmã, Raissa, que sempre me incentivou a continuar trilhando este caminho, e me ajudou bastante com seu conhecimento na língua inglesa. Agradeço a minha sogra Henriqueta Luiza, por me incentivar, principalmente na reta final do trabalho. Aos meus colegas de turma agradeço o suporte para a conclusão da primeira parte do curso, em especial os mais próximos: Clecio Costa, Herminig Everson, Plácido Segundo e José Alfredo. Aos meus amigos Diego Nascimento e Diogo Carvalho, que me ajudaram na ideação e no design gráfico do meu projeto. Gostaria de agradecer também aos meus amigos das empresas Fingertips e C.E.S.A.R. nas quais trabalhei durante o período do mestrado - a lista de nomes é bastante extensa, mas eles sabem que agradeço profundamente pelo apoio. As palavras não seriam suficientes para agradecer ao meu orientador, Vinicius Garcia, que aceitou entrar comigo nessa empreitada e colaborou ativamente com seu conhecimento e sua experiência, além de me colocar no caminho correto sempre focando no objetivo final, a conclusão deste trabalho. Da mesma forma, não tenho como agradecer suficientemente a minha co-orientadora, Taciana Pontual, que me ajudou muito com seu conhecimento específico e foi bastante criteriosa em suas sugestões, prezando sempre pela qualidade do trabalho. Não poderia deixar de agradecer ao professor Luciano Meira, que em determinado momento, em uma curta conversa, ajustou o rumo do meu trabalho, evitando que eu provavelmente percorresse um caminho muito mais tortuoso do que percorri. Agradeço também a todas as outras pessoas que contribuíram direta ou indiretamente para a conclusão desse trabalho. E por fim, demonstro minha imensa gratidão a pessoa que talvez tenha me acompanhado mais de perto, minha esposa, Mariana, que me deu todo o suporte psicológico, além de me acompanhar nos experimentos, me ajudou com seus conhecimentos sobre métodos de pesquisa e que, na reta final, ainda ajudou com suas habilidades em design gráfico, construíndo algumas figuras para o trabalho.

Abstract

Nowadays the computational thinking is one of the most important skills a person should develop to be more well prepared for the near future. By the middle of this century, this ability will probably have the same level of importance of fundamental skills like reading and writing, and people will need to learn programming and problem solving with computational thinking from an early age. Researches trying to stimulate the introduction of this skill set to young children, and this has been done since 1967 when the Massachusetts Institute of Technology created the first language aiming this kind of public called LOGO. Although the studies in the area of developing computational thinking on children started almost six decades ago, the importance of teaching programming in schools is not widely spread around the world, in places like Brazil, this skill is starting to be introduced to children older than 10 years-old. In contrast, the United States and some european countries are using a variable set of approaches to introduce these concepts to young children, usually by creating toys and games which these concepts can be developed within them. Unfortunately most of approaches are aimed for already literate children, very few of them do not require reading skills, limiting the minimum age of users to approximately 6 years old. This work has the intention to argue that younger children are not only able to develop algorithms and initiate the development of computational thinking skills, but also this practice will be quite profitable for their future. An experiment involving 10 children with age between 4 and 6 years old is presented here, where the selected children played a game developed specially for this work, and their performance was able to produce data that is going to be analyzed further to test the main hypothesis, additionally, while reviewing the literature, problems related to the effects of letting children use smart devices and internet without supervision were identified, in order to advocate the usage of this technology by young children, possible causes and risks of these problems are presented and ways to avoid them as well.

SUMMARY

11

2 STATE OF THE ART…………………………………………………………………….16

2.1 DEVELOPING COMPUTATIONAL THINKING ON CHILDREN: BASIC

1 INTRODUCTION………………………………………………………………………

CONCEPTS AND HISTORICAL FINDINGS…………………………………………

2.2 A TAXONOMY FOR APPROACHES TO INTRODUCE CHILDREN TO

17

PROGRAMMING…………………………………………………………………………

29

2.2.1 TEACHING MECHANICS OF PROGRAMMING………………………………

29

2.2.2 SOCIAL LEARNING………………………………………………………………

30

2.2.3 PROVIDING REASONS TO PROGRAM…………………………………………

31

2.2.4 EMPOWERING MECHANICS OF PROGRAMMING…………………………

32

2.3

CHAPTER SUMMARY………………………………………………………………

34

3

THE GAME: HOW IT WAS BUILT, AND WHAT IT ACHIEVED………………

35

3.1 PILOT VERSION, TESTING AND RESULTS……………………………………

38

3.2 BETA VERSION USED FOR THE EXPERIMENT………………………………

45

3.3 THE EXPERIMENT, TESTING THE GAME'S BETA VERSION WITH

CHILDREN………………………………………………………………………………….47

3.3.1 THE 4 YEAR-OLD'S ANALYSIS…………………………………………………

48

3.3.2 THE 5 YEAR-OLD'S ANALYSIS…………………………………………………

52

3.3.3 THE 6 YEAR-OLD'S ANALYSIS…………………………………………………

56

3.3.4 A COMPARISON BETWEEN THE THREE GROUPS…………………………

60

3.4

CHAPTER SUMMARY………………………………………………………………

60

4 RISK ASSESSMENT AND MITIGATION……………………………………………

62

5 CONCLUSION…………………………………………………………………………….67

5.1

FUTURE WORK………………………………………………………………………

68

5.1

REFERENCES…………………………………………………………………………

71

LIST OF FIGURES

Figure 1: The Valiant turtle ………………………………………………………………12

Figure 2: Roamer educational robot ……………………………………………………

19

Figure 3: Roamer Too, Roamer's second generation …………………………………

20

Figure 4: Flashlight with touch sensor built with electronic blocks …………………………

21

Figure 5: FlowBlocks (left) and SystemBlocks (right)

22

Figure 6: Tern (left) and Quetzal (right) ……………………

22

Figure 7: RoboEduc Level 1 (left), Level 3 (center), and Level 5 (right) …

24

Figure 8: LogoBlocks user's interface. ………………

24

Figure 9: Scratch interface …………

26

Figure 10: ScratchJr interface ……………

27

Figure 11: A kindergartener project working on a pre-made environment (left), a project based

on a story by two kindergartners (right).………………

28

Figure 12: Research on introducing computational thinking to children timeline ………

29

Figure 13: Children side-by-side practicing programming with AlgoBlock…………………

31

Figure 14: Traffic lights built with AgentSheets………………………………………………

33

Figure 15: Squeak Etoys printscreen………………………………

34

Figure 16: LightBot………………

36

Figure 17: Cubetto…………………

36

Figure 18: A physical programming interface ………………

37

Figure 19: Sphero …………………

38

Figure 20: Application’s pilot version main screen……………

39

Figure 21: Design of the three game levels……………

40

Figure 22: First level of the game……………………

42

Figure 23: Second level of the game……………………………………………………

43

Figure 24: All valid ending points and respective scores…………

46

Figure 25: Level 2 and application redesign………

47

Figure 26: Child playing freely with the robot………

48

Figure 27: 4 year-old child playing the first level………

49

Figure 28: 5 y.o child celebrating the completion of the second level……

53

Figure 29: 6 y.o child playing the third level……………………

57

Figure 30: Conceptual model of smartphone addiction in early childhood……

65

Figure 31: New interface prototype for the tablet application………………………………

70

LIST OF TABLES

Table 1: M's first three attempts on level 1 ………………………………………………………

42

LIST OF CHARTS

Chart 1: First 4 year-old Score x Attempts………………………………………………………

50

Chart 2: Second 4 year-old Score x Attempts………………………………………………….…

51

Chart 3: Third 4 year-old Score x Attempts………

……………………………………………

52

Chart 4: First 5 year-old Score x Attempts………

……………………………………………….54

Chart 5: Second 5 year-old Score x Attempts……….……………………………………………

55

Chart 6: Third 5 year-old Score x Attempts……………………………………………………

56

Chart 7: First 6 year-old Score x Attempts……….………………………………………………

58

Chart 8: Second 6 year-old Score x Attempts……… Chart 9: Third 6 year-old Score x Attempts………

…………………………………………….59

60

……………………………………………

1.Introduction

Throughthepastfewyearsthelearningprocessthatisappliedinelementaryschool hasbeencriticisedmoreoften.Questionsaboutitseffectivenessarebeingmadeandsome schoolshavealreadytriedtoimproveitbyaddingsomedisciplinesthatmaypreparethe

studentsbetterfortheWorld'sdemands(WAGNER,2008).Thischapterbrieflyintroduces

themainareaofstudyofthiswork,explicitsitsmainquestions,objective,hypothesisand researchmethodology.

AccordingtoWing(2006)computationalthinkingisoneoftheabilitiesthattheworld

isdemandingfrompeople,anditwillprobablybelistedasafundamentalskillsetinafew years.Thisskillsetincludesthecomputersciencefoundationssuchas:abstractionasthe abilitytoseparatethecomplexityofthingsindifferentlevels,thinkrecursively,programming logic,essentiallysolvingproblemsusingthecomputersciencefundamentals. Theprogramminglogic,aspartofcomputationalthinkingskillset,isoftenlistedas

oneofthemostimportantskillstobelearnedsoonerand,sincetheearly90'sdeveloping

thinking skills by programming has been stimulated (COSTA, 1991). Nowadays, in a majorityofcountries,programmingisonlylearnedwhenthepersonreachesadolescenceor earlyadultage,atcollege.Somestudiesandapplicationsaretryingtodelivertochildrenan

earlyaccesstothisskillthroughclasses,games,puzzles,andapplicationssuchasAlice,a3D

environment to create animations and tell stories, and Scratch,anenvironmenttocreate stories,gamesandanimations,LEGOmindstorms,atoolsettocreaterobotsanddevelop

programstocontrolthem(DEPAIVAetal.,2015;FARIASetal.,2015;MATTOS,S.2015;

FINCHERetal.,2010).

The introduction of programming concepts to teenagers and children have been studiedsincebeforethepersonalcomputerwasintroducedtothestores.Mostofthestudies relatedtothisresearcharefocusedonhowtoachievethetwomostvaluedaspectsofthearea, whichareloweringthebarrierstoprogramminganddesigninga"higherceiling"withalower barrier (TEMPEL,2012).Whenthebarriersarelowermorepeoplecanaccessthetechnology andpeoplewithlesspreviousknowledgeofmathematics,logicandprogrammingcanaccess thetechnologyandstarttocreateprograms.Moreover,aneasierapproachtobeusedmightbe consideredtohavea"higherceiling",ifpeoplecancreatemorecomplexprogramswithit

than with previous ones. This chapter provides a brief introduction of the historical achievementsoftheareatobemoredetailedonthenextchapter.

In1967theMIT(MassachusettsInstituteofTechnology)startedworkingonLogo,a

multi­paradigmlanguagebasedonthefunctionallanguageLISP,whichwasintroducedto schools in 1980 by Papert (TEMPEL, 2012). In his work, Papert(1980)advocatedthat childrenwouldbeabletocomprehendandplaywithLogo,andassoonasitwereacceptedby theschools,theeducationalsystemwouldhavetochangeandadapttoit,butclearlyitdidnot gothiswayasmanycountriesarestilltryingtointroduceprogrammingtoschoolsmorethan

3decadesafterPapertpublishedhiswork.

WithLogo,afamousapplicationwascreated,knownastheLogoturtle,whichwas

basicallyagamewhereaturtlewascontrolledbytheuserwithLogocommands.Thegame

waspopularamongcomputerusers,andthenfollowingwiththeideathefloorturtlewas

created,alittlerobotconnectedtothecomputertomaterializethevirtualturtleusedonLogo's

programs.Itenabledchildrentosendsimplecommandsforthemachinetoexecutesuchas:

move tothesides,backandforward,allinLogolanguage.Papert(1980)explainedthat childrenwereabletointeractwiththeturtleandmakeitreflecttheirowncognitiveprocess.

In1983ValiantTechnologystartedtoshiptheircommercialversionofthefloorturtle,named

ValiantTurtle(Figure1).Itconsistedofaremotelycontrolledversionofthefloorturtle

whichwasagreatimprovement,andalsoithadspacetoplugapenorpencilonthetopofit,

whichenabledtheturtletomakedrawingsonthesurface.

whichenabledtheturtletomakedrawingsonthesurface. Figure1: TheValiantTurtle Source:

Figure1:TheValiantTurtle

Source:http://roamerrobot.tumblr.com,accessedin02/12/2015.

WiththeadventofLogointhelate60'saseriesofresearchandworksweredonein

theareaofteachingprogrammingtochildren(describedinthenextchapter),butthemajority ofthenewapproaches,likeScratchandLEGOMindstormsforexample,requiresreading skills,buildingabarrierforpreschoolchildrentostartlearningprogrammingskills.Mostof the recent approaches oftheareathatconcentrateeffortsonyoungchildrentrytoavoid writtentextactions,replacingthemwithiconsandcontextualizedbuttonstoprovideamore reachableandintuitiveuserinterface,forexampleScratchJrandRoamerToo.Moredetailson theseapproacheswillbeseenonthenextchapter. Withappropriateapproaches,teachingprogrammingtochildrencandeliverevenmore thanjustausefulskill,programmingclassescanalsohelpthedevelopmentofbasicconcepts

ofscience,technology,engineeringandmathematics(HOLMQUIST,2014).Wyeth(2001)

advocatesthattheincreasingneedofintroducingtechnologytoyoungchildrenisundeniable, considering that educators have to prepare the next generations for the 'information revolution'.Althoughanapproachofhowtoteachprogrammingtochildrenhasnotreacheda consensus yet, it is considered that it needs to be gradual and assisted. According to Zuckerman et al. (2005)aninterestingapproachiswithdigitalmanipulativesorfamiliar objects,asitincreasestheacceptanceofchildrentotechnology. Consideringthatchildrenmanipulatingnewtechnologyisprobablyanunavoidable scenariothatwillbefacedworldwide,itisimportanttoparentsandschoolteacherstoprepare themselves properly to provide such contact, and there are many possible strategies to introducechildrentosmartdevicesinwaysthatwillbeproductive,enablingthemtodevelop newskillsandplayatthesametime.Conversely,unsupervisedanduncontrolledusageof smartphones,tabletsandtheinternetcanleadtoveryseriousproblemssuchas:addiction, loneliness, obesity, hearing and vision impairments and the situation is aggravated the

youngerthechildis(PONTES,H.,GRIFFITHS,M.,PATRÃO,I.,2014).

There are many initiatives on teaching children how to create programs, and developing basic programming skills, some of these approaches are focused on young

childrenwith4years­oldaverage,butveryfewoftheseapproachespresentstudiessuggesting

thatchildrenareabletouseitproperly,andtheonesthatpresentsuchstudy,mostlydonot

evaluatethechildren'sresultsintheprocess.Consideringthisfact,thisresearchinvestigatesif

preschoolersareabletodevelopalgorithms,andiftheydevelopprogrammingskillswhen

playingprogramminggames.

Thisprojectiswillingtounderstandifnotyetliterateorrecentlyliteratechildrencan develop computational thinking skills by being in contact with an application that is architected to stimulate these skills, by smoothingly introducing them to the conceptof algorithm.Allowingpre­scholarchildrentocontrolasmallrobotshouldattracttheirattention totheprogrammingactivity.Furthermorethedemonstrationofhowageandlifeexperiences affectthetestsresultsisalsoanimportant. Totestthemainhypothesisthatis:"programminggamesenablechildrentodevelop andimprovetheirprogrammingskills",aprogramminggamewasdevelopedcomposedbya tabletapplication,arobotandchallenginglevels.Thegamewasdesignedasanapplication for smart devicesbasedonsomeofthemostplayedprogrammingandpuzzlegameson mobilemarketplacessuchasLEGOMindstormsandLightBot.Inordertobeeasilyaccessed by children, the applicationwasdesignedtorunonatabletdevice,andtostimulatethe developmentofalgorithmstosolvesimplelogicproblems.Thetabletapplicationisconnected to a robot throughBluetoothandisabletosendspecificcommandstoit.Itattemptsto recreatetheideaofthecombinationofLogoandthefloorturtle,abstractingprogramming languageswithavisuallanguageandremovingthe"umbilicalcord"(cable)fromthemachine with the use of Bluetooth. Tobecomeinteresting,gamesneedtobechallenging,andto representthesechallengesgamelevelsweredesignedtosimulateatrackontheenvironment wheretherobothastofollowthepath,guidedbythechildthroughthetabletapplicationtobe putonthefloor,oronatablewhereitcansimulateatrack. Duringtheapplication'sexperimentationprocess,usefuldatasuchasscoreofeach attemptofeachlevel,ageandgenderwerecollectedtobefurtheranalysedandusedtotest themainhypothesisofthiswork.Thedatacollectedwasbothquantitativeandqualitative, andtheresultsarepresentedbasedonchartsandobservationnotes.Consideringthatmost childrenhaveahighinterestingamesandsmartdevices,theapplicationwasexpectedtobe enjoyablewhilehelpingthemtogetincontactwiththebasicconceptsofprogramming. Thisworkdoesnotfocusonsociodemographicvariablesandtoavoidhighvariability duetosuchvariablesthechildrenselectedtoparticipateontheexperimenthadtofollowa predefinedprofile:onlychildrenwithpreviousexperiencewithsmartphonesandtabletswere selected.Asmostofthestudiesoftentestchildrenfromanspecificgrade,usuallytheyhave resultsonaparticularsamplewiththesameageapproximately.Inthisstudy,alargerage

range(4to6yearsold)wasdefinedinordertoprovidecomparisonsbetweendifferentages.

Thespecificprofileandthedifferencesbetweenagesraisedimportantfactsthataredetailed

inChapter3.

Chapter2reviewstheliteraturetoprovideahistoricaloverviewandthestateoftheart

ofthestudiesregardingdevelopingprogrammingskillsonchildren.Chapter3isfocusedon

detailing how the game was designed and developed, how itwasinitiallytested,which changesweremadebetweenversions,andalsopresentsaquantitativeanalysisonthedata collectedastheresultsoftheresearch,andadetailedreportofhowchildreninteractedwith

thegame.Chapter4providesariskassessmentinchildreninteractingwithtechnologyand

waystomitigatethoserisks.Chapter5 drawtheconclusionsofthework.

2.Stateoftheart

Since1980,whenthepersonalcomputerwasanimminentreality,studiesthatinvolve

childrenpracticingprogrammingskillshavebeenmade,andtheneedofdevelopingyoung children's computational thinking skills hasgrowninimportanceovertime.Thischapter suppliesahistoricaloverviewofthestudiesrelatedtodevelopingdigitalnativechildren's programmingskillsandemphasizestheimportanceofpromotingthedevelopmentofsuch competencesinchildrennowadays. Thepresentresearchisfocusedonchildrenthatarecalled"digitalnatives".According

toBennettetal.(2008)adigitalnativecanbedefinedasanypersonwhowasbornimmersed

indigitaltechnology,isfamiliarwithitandinterestedinit. Adigitalnativechildisabletoeasilyunderstandandinteractwithdigitaldevicesasa consequence of being constantly exposed to technology. Brazil has not yet designed an educational system to fully satisfy the needs of a digital nativestudent.Althoughsome individualinitiativesarebeingimplemented,suchasprogramming,roboticandinformation technologyclasses,thewholesystemisstilloutdated.IntheUnitedStatesalotmoreeffortis beingmadewiththeadventofScratchandAlice,buttheireducationalsystemhasnotfully

changed(PRENSKY,2009).

According to Prensky (2001), the opposite of digital native,isdigitalimmigrant, whichmeansapersonthatwasbornbeforethedeliveryofthepersonalcomputer,ordidnot have access to it during their childhood. Prensky affirmed that all the educators from Americanschoolsweredigitalimmigrantsatthetime.Consideringthiswasmorethanten yearsago,wecanassumethatnotallbut,mostofoureducatorsaredigitalimmigrants. Nowadaysthegapbetweendigitalimmigrantsanddigitalnativesisnotasbigasit wastenyearsago,becausetheimmigrantsareconstantlytryingtofollowthetechnological innovations (BENNETT, 2012).Howevertheswiftnesswithwhichdigitalnativesabsorb technologyinformationismuchhigherand,sincethecreationofLogo,accordingtoPapert

(1980)oneofthemainobjectivesofthoseinvolvedinteachingprogrammingtochildrenisto

lowerthebarrierstoprogramming,inthenextsectionarepresentedsomeworksrelatedto developing computational thinking skills on children,andthemajorityofthemfocuson diminishingthedifficultiesofprogrammingandmakingitmoreaccessible.

2.1Developingcomputationalthinkingonchildren:basicconceptsandhistorical

findings Themainconceptinvolvedinallstudiesofcomputerprogrammingisalgorithm,for theaimofeveryapproachistolearnordeveloptheabilityofbuildingalgorithms.Theclassic concept of algorithm is traced back to the early ninth century and is attributed to al­Khwarizmi,aphilosopherfromtheHouseofWisdomofBaghdad(Iraqnowadays),where

thegreekworksweretranslated(O'CONNOR;ROBERTSON,1999).Thealgorithmconcept

acceptednowadayswasfirstlyformalizedbyDavidHilberton"Hilbert'sProgram"in1921

(ZACH,2009).

DavidHilbertinthefirstdecadeofthe20thcenturyrealizedandstatedthatinorderto

rigorouslydevelopanyscientificsubject,anaxiomaticapproachisneeded.Thisassumption raisedaseriesofquestionsaboutthefoundationsofmathematics,soHilbertproposedtothe communitytheproblemofdevelopingadirectconsistencyproofofanalysisnotbasedon reductiontoanothertheory.Althoughthisquestionwasneveranswered,itraisedmanyideas

andcontributestothefieldofmathematics(ZACH,2009).

Laterin1936,ChurchandTuringproposeddifferentapproachestoformallydefine

algorithm,lambdacalculusandtheTuring'smachineconceptrespectively.Bothwereableto do it and the problem of defining algorithm was solved, many other approaches were developed,butthosebecamemostfamousinthecomputersciencefield. ExploringallthehistoricalworksrelatedtoHilbert'sprogramisnotthefocusofthis work,butitshouldprovideaninformaldefinitionofalgorithmenabledbyHilbert'sworks. Informallyalgorithmcanbedefinedasanorderedsequenceofnon­ambiguousstepswitha goaltoaccomplish. Studiesofthebenefitsofpracticingcomputationalthinkingatearlyagesaredated

frombeforethecomputerwaswidelyusedineducation.In1984ClementsandGullo,inorder

to understand some cognitive benefits of teaching programming skills to kindergarten children, randomly divided two groups of first graders (6 years and eleven months old approximately)inordertoinvestigatetheeffectsofcomputerprogrammingontheircognitive developmentandabilitytodescribedirections,amongotheraspects.Theypretestedevery subject to assess their current status on the studiedabilities. Onegroupusedcomputer programming,andtheotherusedcomputerassistedinstruction(CAI)astreatment.Afterthe activitiesofeachgroup,theyretestedthesubjectsandalthoughtherewasnotacognitive

measurements difference, the computer programming group may have had a creativity improvement,andoutperformedtheCAIgroupinmetacognitivetasksandsimilarresults werefoundondirectiontests. Otherapproachesintroduceprogrammingtochildreninsimilarwaysofhowcomputer sciencestudentslearn,implementingsimplealgorithmslikeeasymathematicalcalculations,

building lists and drawing lines for example, far away from their interests. Moreover, programmingwasintroducedwithoutguidancewhenthingswentwrong(debugging),and childrenwerenotstimulatedtodeeplyunderstandwhenthingswentright(CLEMENTS,H.& GULLO, F.1984).AccordingtoResnick(2009)thosewerethemainreasonswhysome childrencouldnotmasterthesyntaxoftheearlyprogramminglanguagesandwerethemain

challengestoovercomebackinthe80s.

Tomotivatechildrentogetintouchwithprogramming,theLEGO/Logolanguagewas

introducedinthelate80s.LEGO/LogoisalanguagebasedonLogodesignedtocontrol

machinesbuiltwithLegoprogrammablebricks,sensorsandmotors.Thekidswereableto buildthemachines,connectthemwiththecomputer,andprogramthemwithLEGO/Logo

(RESNICK;OCKO;PAPERT,1988).

TounleashtherobotsfromthecablesconnectedtothecomputerstheLegoCompany 1 introducedtheprogrammablebrick,whichisatinycomputerembeddedonaLegobrick. Joiningsomeblockspeopleareabletocreatesimpleelectroniccircuitsandcontrolmotorsto automatesomething,forexample:dooropening,switchinglightson/off,andalsomovingcar

toys(RESNICKetal.,1996).

TheLegoCompanyisstillinvestingintheroboticsarea,andnowadayswecanfind

allsortsofmachinesmadefromLegobricksandmotors.Thecompanyproduced,outofthe

programmablebricksinitiative,asetofproductsknownasLEGOMindstorms

2 forbuilding

robotswithLegobricksandprogrammingthemwithavisuallanguagebuiltfortheproduct calledRCXCode,andtheTuftsUniversityalsocreatedanenvironmentnamedROBOCODE todevelopprogramsforLEGOMindstorms,thereareseveralotherthirdpartiesapproaches available,includingenvironmentsthatsupportsLua,VisualBasicandJavaforexample.

AccordingtoHolmquist(2014),educationalroboticscanbeagreattoolformaking

students engage and learn science, technology engineering and math (STEM) and for

1 Availableathttp://www.lego.com/accessedin02/12/2015. 2 Availableathttp://mindstorms.lego.comaccessedin02/12/2015.

elementarystudentstoyscanbeusedtothisobjective.Sheconductedaresearchwithfourth

gradestudents(9­10years­old)todescribetheprocessofusingroboticstofacilitatethe

understandingofSTEMconcepts.RoamerToo,areinventionofthefloorturtle,wasusedas

toolfortheresearch.ThisversionisalsoasecondgenerationoftheRoamercreatedin1983

andmostlyusedinEuropeanschoolsattheendofthe80s.

BothversionsoftheRoamerweredesignedtobeindependentrobots,noneedfor cables,Bluetoothdevicesoranyothertoolscommonlyrequiredbyotherapproaches.The robotshaveacommandskeypadontopofthemthatenablesuserstopreviouslysetuptheir

actionsandthenplay.Thefirstversion(Figure2)hadonlyonekeypadoption,whilethe

secondgeneration(Figure3)isconsiderablysmallerandprovidesdifferentkeypadsforusers

ofdifferentages,alsoitcancommunicatewiththeusertohelpwithdebuggingandgive

advicesuchasrememberingtoshutitdown.

advicesuchasrememberingtoshutitdown. Figure2: Roamereducationalrobot Source:

Figure2:Roamereducationalrobot

Source:http://www.valiant­technology.com,accessedin02/12/2015.

TheworkofHolmquistin2014withfourthgradestudentswasconductedinaway

thatthechildreninvolvedbuiltaprojectthattherobotneededtocompleteusingsequential tasks, and also built the set of instructions to lead therobottocompletethetasks.She observed a list of STEM concepts such as forces,motion,programming,designing,and

metricsunits.Thestudywasacomparisonbetween2groups,oneusedrobots,andtheother

didnot.Theanalysiswasqualitativeandtheactivitiesproposedtothestudentswerethesame.

Thestudentswerepresentedtoafictionaladventurewheretheyneededtorescueaspaceship,

andtheyneededtodesignthepathwayandworktogethertocompletethetask.Holmquist usedapretesttoassessthepreviousSTEMknowledgeofeachgroup,andthenconducteda

classtoteachbasicinstructions.Thefullexperimenttook5sessionsofbetween1and2hours

ofduration.Theonlydifferencebetweenthetwogroupswasthatwhenthegroupwiththe robotneededtoprogramtherobotanddesignthepath,theothergroupneededonlytodesign thepath.Asfortheresults,thegroupwithrobotsshowedaconsiderablypositivedifferencein engagement, and the results of the post test on STEM concepts were slightlyhigherin comparisonwiththegroupwithoutrobots.

were slightlyhigherin comparisonwiththegroupwithoutrobots. Figure3: RoamerToo,Roamer'ssecondgeneration Source:

Figure3:RoamerToo,Roamer'ssecondgeneration

Source:http://www.valiant­technology.com,accessedin02/12/2015.

Important contributions to the area involve the creation and use of digital manipulatives,whicharebasedonmanipulativetoyslikecuisenairerodsandpatternblocks withdigitalcircuitsembeddedtoaddcomputationalandcommunicationscapabilitiestothe

regulartoys(RESNICKetal.1988).Legobricksforexamplearemanipulativeswithwhich

peoplecanjoinblocksandcreateaform,likeacastleorananimal,andalsoturnlightsonand

off,makethemrunacrosstheroomamongotherfeatures.

Usingtheelectronicblocks,amanipulativetoyusingmodifiedLEGOblockswith

electronicsystemsinside,aresearchinvolving40childrenbetween4and8yearsofage

foundthateventheyoungestchildrenwereinterestedinplayingwiththetoy.Lowlevelsof frustrationwerenoticedandgreatresultswereidentified,andplayingwithitthechildren wereabletobuildagoodvarietyofsystemssuchaswalkingcars,flashlightsactivatedbya

touchsensor(Figure4),andlightsthatareturnedonandoffbyaclap.Mostofthechildren

demonstratedsignsofusinganalogiestodoit(WYETH;PURCHASE,2002).

Figure4: Flashlightwithtouchsensorbuiltwithelectronicblocks

Figure4:Flashlightwithtouchsensorbuiltwithelectronicblocks

Source:WYETH;PURCHASE,2002.

According toZuckermanetal.(2005)duringtheirexperimentsinvolvingchildren workingwithtoysdesignedtodevelopsystems,inadditiontopracticingtheircreativityand buildingalgorithms,childrencanbecomemoresocialwhileplayingwitheachotherandthey canstarttounderstandsomeimportantconceptssuchasabstraction,iterativeness,modelling, and analogizing. Zuckerman's experiments were basedonwhattheycalleddigitalMiMs (Montessori inspired Manipulatives). They developed two toys, SystemBlocks and FlowBlocks (Figure 5), that enabled children to create abstract structures that through analogiesmadepossibletobetterunderstandrealworldsystemsandoperationssuchaswater flowfromabathtuborprobabilityofastormtohappen.

Figure5: FlowBlocks(left)andSystemBlocks(right) Source: ZUCKERMANetal.,2005.

Figure5:FlowBlocks(left)andSystemBlocks(right)

Source:ZUCKERMANetal.,2005.

AninterestingstudyusingLEGOMindstormswasdonebyHornandJacobin2007.

Theycreatedaprogramminglanguagefor LEGOMindstormsrobotsusingmanipulativesto controlrobots,whichtheynamedQuetzal.Itwasconsideredagoodapproachtostimulate children to play and discover programming. They used connectible tags to represent commandsandformalgorithms.AlthoughQuetzalwasagoodapproach,theysuggestedthat thepieceswerefragileandprobablywouldraiseproblemsusingitinsideclassrooms,sothey createdasecondlanguage,Tern,tocontrolvirtualrobotsonacomputerscreen,whichwas consideredanevolutionandhadbetteracceptancewiththeusers.Itwasbasedonwooden blocksrepresentingthecommands,similarlytoQuetzal,buttheynoticedthatthewooden blocksfromTernlanguagewereeasiertoconnectsotheyrealizedthatitcreatedabetter

experience.Figure6showsontheleftside,thewoodenblocksfromtheTernlanguageandon

therighttheconnectibletagsfromQuetzal,whichmakesiteasiertounderstandwhyTern

wasconsideredtogiveabetterexperiencetotheusers,theconnectibletagsfromQuetzal

weremoredelicateonthejoiningdots,requiringmoremotorcoordinationtouse.

Figure6: Tern(left)andQuetzal(right) Source:

Figure6:Tern(left)andQuetzal(right)

Source:HORN&JACOB,2007.

In2009anexperimentwasmadebyHornatanexhibitattheBostonMuseumof

Science,whereheputpeopleincontactwithtwoapproachestolearnprogrammingmoving robots:thefirstonewasthroughtangiblemanipulativesusingtheTernlanguage,andthe secondonewaswithavisuallanguageonamicebasedapplication.Theexperimentwas focusedincomparingthetwoapproachestounderstandthedifferencesbetweentheminsome aspectssuchaslearnability,engageability,collaborativeness,focusonthechildandother aspects.Theresultsshownthatthefirstapproachperformedbetterthanthesecondonein most oftheaspectsstudied,ontheotheronesthetwoapproachestied.Itsuggestedthat manipulativestendtobemoreeffectivewhentryingtolearnandpracticeprogrammingthan

mice­basedapplications(HORNetal.2009).

Anotherresearchmadein2009byThomazandassociatesusedLEGOMindstormsto

introduceroboticsandprogrammingtoBraziliandigitallyexcludedchildren.Theydeveloped asoftwarethatwasusedasaprogramminginterfacewithdifferentlevelsofdifficulty,sothat programmingcouldbeintroducedgraduallytothestudents.Theresearchwasperformedwith

thirdandfourthgraders(8to10year­old),andthechildrenwereableto"learnbydoing"

robotics, as they assembled their LEGO robots. After assembling they were put into a

challengethatneededprogramming,andthentheyusedthesoftwarecalledRoboEduc

createalgorithmsandsendtheinstructionstotherobots(THOMAZetal.2009).RoboEduc

provided5differentlevelsofprogramming,startingwithvisualicons,andincreasingthe

complexitytowrittencommandstocontrolaspecificmotorforexample.Figure7shows

levels1,3and5ofcomplexity,level1providedasetofcommandsrepresentedbyicons,

level3lettheuserstarttocodewithasimplelanguageusingsomecommandsinnative

language,andthelevel5acceptedamorecomplexlanguage,similartoC.Themainresults

observedwerethegreatengagementshowedbythechildren,andsomefeedbacksgivenby

theteachersinvolvedintheprocess,thatthisapproachrevealedtobeagreattoolfordigital

inclusion.

3 to

3 Availableathttp://www.roboeduc.com.br/accessedin02/12/2015.

Figure7: RoboEducLevel1(left),Level3(center),andLevel5(right) Source: THOMAZetal.,2009.

Figure7:RoboEducLevel1(left),Level3(center),andLevel5(right)

Source:THOMAZetal.,2009.

Aftertheinventionoftheprogrammablebrick,theLogoteamcreatedaninnovative approachtoteachprogrammingforkidsthatwasLogoBlocks,unifyingconceptsofLogo

programminglanguageandtheideaofjoiningLEGObricks.Figure8exemplifieshowthe

codingisdonewiththebricksconcept,attheleftacommandspaletteandtherightsidewas

reservedfordeveloping.In2006asaprojectoftheLifelongKindergartenGroupattheMIT

4 wasbuiltbasedontheideaofLogoBlocksbutaddingacollaborative

platformtodevelopandsharemultimediacontentontheinternetsuchasgames,presentations andanimations(TEMPEL, 2012).

MediaLab,Scratch

andanimations(TEMPEL, 2012). MediaLab,Scratch Figure8: LogoBlocksuser'sinterface. Source:

Figure8:LogoBlocksuser'sinterface.

Source:KELLEHER&PAUSCH,2005.

4 Availableathttps://scratch.mit.edu/accessedin02/12/2015.

Although Scratch enables simple sprites (two dimensional figures to simulate a character moving) setup and programming, like having a cat walking through a two dimensionalplanetoparallelprogrammingwithmultiplethreads,thecollaborativeplatform

isoneofitskeyfeatures.AccordingtoResnick,M.etal.(2009)smallmulti­nationalonline

"companies" are being formed by children from allages,theysimplylikeoneanother's projectandasktohelp,formingagroupandthenanynewideascancomeout.Anexample

ResnickandassociatesretrievedfromtheScratchcommunitywasfroma15year­oldBritish

girlthatstartedaprojectoffullanimatedsprites,shestartedtoencourageotherstouseher

sprites,andthenanother10year­oldBritishgirlaskedifshecouldhelpprovidingsome

backgroundsforthesprites,andtheystartedtocollaborate,andalsocalledthemselves"Mesh

Inc.",acompanytobuildgames.Aftersometime,a14year­oldboyfromUnitedStatesasked

tojoinMeshInc.claimingtobeagoodprogrammer;lateronanIrish11year­oldboyalso

askedtojoinsayingthathewasgoodinsidescrollingfeature.This"company"formedby3

differentnationalities,differentskills,allavailablethroughwebcommunication,andanactive community is very positive, children interact socially, study design, programming and particularconceptsthatwillonlybeshowedtothematcollegeorequivalent. Scratch's community grows continuously, and by the end of 2015 more than 11

millionprojectswillhavebeensharedontheplatform,itisusedinmorethan150countries

andistranslatedto40languages,whichconsiderablycontributestogrowth.Figure9shows

Scratch'smaininterfaceanditispossibletoidentifythesimilaritieswithLogoBlocks,theleft

sidewiththecommandspalette,inthemiddleadevelopingarea,andattherightsidea

debuggingareawithapaletteforbuildingscenariosatthebottom.

5 wasreleased,a

platform that provides thepracticeandlearningconceptsofobjectorientedparadigmby programmingJavacodetobuildgamesandothersophisticatedapplications(Fincheretal.

2010).Greenfootisagreattool,itprovidesanenvironmenttodevelopcomplexapplications,

butitisnotfocusedonyoungchildren,andrequiressomeexperiencewithwritingcode,more

appropriateforhighschoolstudents.

WithsomesimilaritiestoScratchmorerecentlyin2010Greenfoot

5 Availableathttp://www.greenfoot.org/accessedin02/12/2015

Figure9: Scratchinterface Source: RESNICK,M.etal.(2009)

Figure9:Scratchinterface

Source:RESNICK,M.etal.(2009)

Scratchfirstcontactisaimedforchildrenwiththeaverageof7yearsold,whenthey

arealreadyliterate.Codingwithblocksandthesekindsoflanguagearelimitedforpeople whoareabletoread,forthatmatteranassociationbetweentheLifelongKindergartengroup (MIT),theDevTechResearchGroupatTuftsUniversityandthePlayfulInventionCompany

developedScratchJr(Figure10),atoolbasedonScratchbutdesignedforchildrenbetween5

and7years­old.

AccordingtoFlanneryetal.(2013)theScratchJrprojectstartedwithexperimentson

theScratchplatform,presentingittochildrenofdifferentagesandanalysingtheirinteractions with the platforms. When lettingfourandfiveyear­oldsofthesameschoolarrangedin groupstohavelessonsofScratch'sfunctionalitiesandskillsaccompaniedbysomeoftheir teachers,itwaspossibletogatherdatatocreateScratchJr'sfirstinterfaceandmainfeatures

(Figure10).

Figure10: ScratchJrinterface Source: FLANNERYetal.(2013)

Figure10:ScratchJrinterface

Source:FLANNERYetal.(2013)

FollowingScratch'sidea,thegreenflagrepresentsstart,andtheredblockorbutton means stop, in Figure10itispossibletoidentifyhowScratchJrsimplifiedtheinterface providing only necessary features, at the bottom the development area, composed of a operations palette(turntosides,run,jump)andalowerareareservedforprogramming,the leftpanelisaspritespalletthatenabledtheusertocomposetheenvironmentwithsome actors,andthepanelfromtherightoptionsfordebugwereprovidedwiththegreenflagand theredbuttontostartandstopdebugging. This experiment enabledthecreationofaprototypethatwastestedwithchildren between 5 and 7 years­old. The pilotencounteredsomebarriers,clearlyilliteracywasa problem,withmostofthecommandsbasedontext,childrenthatwerestilllearningtoread hadtroubleswithit,alsosomenumericoperationsthatwerenotyetintroducedrevealedtobe problematiccausingprogrammingtobeverydifficult.Theseresultsledthemtoimprove SratchJr'sinterfaceanddeveloptheconceptofcards,visuallymoreacceptableforyounger childrenandwhenappliedinasemi­structuredprojectwasmoreeffectiveonkindergarten students.

Figure11: Akindergartenerprojectworkingonapre­madeenvironment(left),aprojectbasedona storybytwokindergartners(right).

Figure11:Akindergartenerprojectworkingonapre­madeenvironment(left),aprojectbasedona

storybytwokindergartners(right).

Source:FLANNERYetal.(2013)

While refining ScratchJr solution Flannery and her associatescouldcollectmany

examplesofprojectschildrenfrom4to7yearsoldwereabletoworkon.Theiractivities

weremorecommonlydividedintotwosubgroups,thosewhowantedtoprogramactorsonan specificscenario,andthosewhowantedtobuildascenarioandthenrefinesomeofitsactors behaviours. These observations are exemplified on Figure 11, where a kindergartener familiarizedhimselfwiththepresentedscene,andstartedtoaddbehaviourtoitsactors(left), andacoupleofstudentswhowerecreatingaparticularstoryandpracticedprogrammingwith someofthecreatedactors. ConsideringScratchasoneofthenewestandmostpopularsolutions,withthelowest learningcurvetoprogrammingskills,thenextstepintothislineofworkistofindouthowto lowerthecurveevenmore.AsScratchisdesignedforalreadyliteratechildren,theyareable tounderstandblocksprogrammingaslongastheylearntheconceptofalgorithm.

Figure12summarizesthetimelineofthemostrelevantworkandimportantproducts

relatedtointroducingcomputationalthinkingtochildrenstartingfromlate60suntilmore

recent works. This section providedahistoricaloverviewandalsoareviewofthemost commonapproachesusednowadaysformakingchildrenfamiliarwithprogramming.The

numberofsolutionsmadeforthiskindofinitiativeismassive,sinceitstartedmorethan40

yearsagoandtheinterestofresearchersonlygrewsincethen.Forthisreasonthenextsection of this work exposes a taxonomy presented in 2005 thattriestocategorizeallkindsof approachesofthearea.

Figure12: Researchonintroducingcomputationalthinkingtochildrentimeline

Figure12:Researchonintroducingcomputationalthinkingtochildrentimeline

2.2Ataxonomyforapproachestointroducechildrentoprogramming

AninterestingsurveywasmadebyKelleherandPauschin2005categorizingmostof

theattemptstoeasetheprogramminglearningprocess.Theycreatedataxonomythatdivided alltheapproachesintotwolargegroups:Teachingsystems,andEmpoweringsystems.The firstonetriestoteachprogrammingtodevelopskillsofthelearner,andthesecondoneisto useprogrammingforsomereasoninthefuture. Kelleher and Pausch analyzed over 70 different approaches that would make programmingeasier,thetaxonomyisusefultocategorizenewapproaches,anditwillbe briefly described in this section. In order to create an approach that aims to develop computationalthinkingonyoungchildren,itisrequiredtounderstandmostofthestrategies used to make programming more accessible to people, a summary of the taxonomy is presentedinthenextsubsectionswithexampleoftheapproachesrelatedtothecategories.

2.2.1TeachingMechanicsofprogramming

Thecategorythatprobablycontainsthemajorityoftheapproachestowardslearningto code,believesthatsyntaxandcodestylearethehardestthingstolearnwhenapersonstartsto develop programs, and focuses on lowering the barriers tolearningtheseaspects.Some approachesarecenteredonhowtoexpressprogramsandmakingiteasiertocommunicate

withmachines,loweringthecomplexityofaprogramminglanguage,forexample,isoneof thestrategies.SomelanguageslikeBASIC,BluelanguageandJuniorJavawerebasedon othermorecomplexlanguages,also,someprogramshelpdeveloperstocodebymakingthem avoidsyntaxerrors.Anotherchangingapproachistocreatenewlanguagesand/orparadigms that focus on how instructions can be combined and organized to createmorecomplex programs.Thereareseveralexamplesofapproachesforthissubgroup,likePascal,alanguage createdtobetaughtinclasseswhentheonlylanguagesavailablewereFORTRAN,COBOL and Algol. Pascal was a structuredlanguage.Smalltalk,consideredtobethefirstobject orientedlanguage,isagoodexampleofalanguagethatintroducedanewparadigm,that madeeasiertocreatemorecomplexprograms. Aninterestingapproach,andthemostrelevantforthispresentedwork,isloweringthe barrierstoprogrammingbyavoidingtypingand,insomecases,readingcode.Theinitiatives ofthissubgroupfocusesoncreatingvisuallanguages,physicalobjects,toys,moretangible experiencesthatmakeeasiertolearnhowtodevelopprograms.Theseapproachesareableto lowerthebarriersforveryyoungchildrentostartdevelopingalgorithmsandbeabletostart developingmorecomplexprogramswhilestillinchildhoodbeyondtheapproachpresentedin thenextchapter,otherexamplesareLogoBlocks,ElectronicBlocks,Scratch,Alice,Curlybot andTortis.

6

7

2.2.2Sociallearning

Alltheapproachesofthiscategoryanditsgroupsarefocusedonallowingchildrento developskillsbyworkingtogether.Therearetwowaysofcollaboration:side­by­sideand through network interaction, probably, all the tangible user interfaces are classified into side­by­side social learning such asthepreviouslycitedtangiblemanipulativesTernand Quetzal,LEGOprogrammablebricksandAlgoBlock,asetoftangiblemanipulativesthat

representsaphysicalprogramminglanguagecreatedonthemid90s(Suzuki,H.&Kato,H.,

1995).Figure13showschildrenpracticingprogrammingside­by­sideusingAlgoBlock.

6 Arobotthatcanrecordmotionandreplayit,moreinformationavailableat

7 Adevicetoeasethecommunicationsbetweenyoungchildrenandarobotturtleavailableat

Figure13: Childrenside­by­sidepracticingprogrammingwithAlgoBlock Source: Suzuki,H.&Kato,H(1995) Although the survey

Figure13:Childrenside­by­sidepracticingprogrammingwithAlgoBlock

Source:Suzuki,H.&Kato,H(1995)

Although the survey indicated that an approach can only be classified into one category, Scratch was classified into Teaching mechanics of programming, but if you considerthatoneofthemaininterestingfeaturesoftheplatformisthenetworkexperience, andwhatchildrenfromallovertheworldarecreatingusingit,maybe,itcanbeclassifiedinto thiscategorytoo,becauseitprovidesanetworkinteractionbetweenusers,andthecontextof

programmingforchildrenmayhaveconsiderablychangedsince2005.

2.2.3Providingreasonstoprogram

Thiscategoryfocusesonprovidingastartingpointforbeginnerssinceusuallytheydo notunderstandthecomplexityofprogramming,orhowtostart,orevenwhattheycanachieve withit.Reinforcingtheideathatoneapproachcanbecategorizedinmorethanonecategory, thegamepresentedonthenextchaptercanbeclassifiedintothepreviouscategoriesandalso inthisone,becauseitprovidestoolstodevelopthefundamentalsofprogrammingmechanics, itcanbeplayedwithfriendsside­by­sideanditalsoprovidesastartingpointforbeginners. Approaches of this category can be educational software or games that provide puzzlesorchallengesthatinvolvesfundamentalconceptsofprogrammingoractualcodingto

achievecertaingoalsforexampleonTheIncredibleMachinefromSierraEntertainment,the userchangespipespositiontoprovidewaterforhouses.Childrencangraduallydeveloptheir skills while facingharderchallenges.AnotherexampleisRobocode whereprogrammers writejavacodetocontrolasimulatedbattlerobotandthentestthemintoanarenaagainst otherprogrammer'srobot.

8

2.2.4EmpoweringMechanicsofprogramming

This category is not focused on preparing users to program on general purpose languages,buttounderstandtheimportanceofprogrammingtodeveloptheskillstobeused inspecificdomains.Theapproachesclassifiedintothiscategoryarebasicallydividedinto two subgroups, the first one advocates that coding is too difficult and tries to avoid it followingcertainstrategies,andthesecondonetriestoimproveexistinglanguagesorwaysof interactingwithexistinglanguages. Onestrategytoavoidcodingistoprovideaneducationalsoftwarewheretheusercan interactwiththeinterfaceandpracticesomeprogrammingconceptsfocusingonacertain domain,Programmingbyrehearsalwasoneoftheapproachesofthissubgroup,createdin 1984, it consisted into a program that allowed users tobuildsmallsystemslikeclocks, chronometers only by moving visualcomponentsthatcommunicatewithothers.Another strategy is to allow users to create programs or simulationsusingonlyconditionalsand actions. AgentSheets created in 1991 at University of Colorado is an environment that

allowedtheusertocreatesimulationsbasedonconditionalsandactions,Figure14showsa

programthatsimulatestrafficlightsbuiltwithAgentSheets.Itcontains2rules:thefirstoneis

toevery3secondsexecutethesecondrulethatischangecolorfollowingthesequencegreen,

yellow,red.

9

8 Availableathttp://robocode.sourceforge.net/accessedin02/12/2015. 9 Avalableathttp://www.agentsheets.com/accessedin02/12/2015.

Figure14: TrafficlightsbuiltwithAgentSheets Source: KELLEHER&PAUSCH,2005.

Figure14:TrafficlightsbuiltwithAgentSheets

Source:KELLEHER&PAUSCH,2005.

Athirdstrategytheuserdoesnotbuildanyprogram,butchangesitsbehaviourby choosingitsspecificactions.ThePinballConstructionSet ,forexample,wascreatedin

1983anditisasoftwareprogramthatallowstheusertocreateapinballgamebyplacingeach

componentonthescreen,butalsodefinethebehaviouroftheballwhengettingincontact witheachcomponent. Thesecondsubgroupfocusesoncreatinglanguagesthatareeasytoteach,andprepare theirprogrammerstowriteinlanguagesofgeneralpurpose.Languagesdesignedtobecome moreunderstandableusuallyappliedcommonexpressionsusedbypeopleontheirnatural

environment.Createdin1981COBOL(COmmonBusinessOrientedLanguage)wasdesigned

tobewrittenbyprogrammersandreadbymanagement.Anotherlanguagecategorizedinto

thissubgroupisLogo,previouslydefined,createdforchildren.

10

10 VideogamecreatedbyBillBudgeandpublishedbyEletronicArts.

Anotherapproachwasanenvironmentwithadifferentwaytocodebyreplacingthe typicaltexteditorwithdifferenttools,forexampleSqueakEtoys createdin1997wherethe

novicescaneditthebehaviourofcertainpre­madeobjects.Figure15showsaprintscreenof

Squeak,andtheboxesontheupperleftaretheplacesprogrammerscaneditthecode.

11

11 Figure15: SqueakEtoysprintscreen Source:

Figure15:SqueakEtoysprintscreen

Source:KELLEHER&PAUSCH,2005.

2.3Chaptersummary

Thischapterpresentedaliteraturereviewcollectingsomehistoricalworksmadeon

programmingforchildren,andmorerecentstudiesincludingtheareasofroboticsandsmart

tangibledevices.Italsosummarizedataxonomythattriestocategorizeallapproacheson

teachingchildrenhowtoprogram.Thenextchapterintroducestheapproachusedonthis

worktointroduceyoungchildrentoprogramming,theexperimentmethodologyandthemain

findingsoftheresearch.

11 Availableathttp://www.squeakland.org/accessedin2/12/2015.

3.TheGame:howitwasbuilt,andwhatitachieved.

This work explores primarilytwoproblems,thefirstonewas:"Canpreschoolers develop algorithms?",andthesecondone:"Dopreschoolersincreasetheirprogramming skillswhenplayingprogramminggames?".Fromtheseproblems,itwaspossibletoformulate themainhypothesisofthisworkthatis"programminggamesenablechildrentodevelopand improvetheirprogrammingskills".AnimportantresearchinthisfieldwasmadebyPapertin

1980,heallowedchildrentoprogramalittlerobotcalledthe"floor­turtle"fromacomputer

usingsimplecommands.InspiredbyPapert'swork,totestthehypothesisagameprototype similartothefloorturtlewasdeveloped,wherechildrenusedanapplicationinstalledona tabletdevicetocontrolaphysicalrobot.Duringtheinteraction,theapplicationcollecteddata to be analyzed. This chapter details how the game prototype was designed, how the experimentwiththechildrenwasexecuted,whatkindofdataitcollected,andtheresults encountered. Forabetterunderstandingofhowthechildreninvolvedwiththisworkinteractedwiththe gamedeveloped,itisimportanttoknowwhythegamewasbuiltandsomedetailsonthe gameversions. Thegamewasbuiltinspiredonsomeapproachestoteachingchildrenthebasicsof programminglikethefloor­turtle,Light­Bot andprimo.io forexample.Itwasdesignedto enable children todevelopanddebugsimplealgorithms,andalsopredictthealgorithm's behaviour.Itneededtobeeasytouse,andmainlydesignedforchildrenwithoutreading skills.However,themainobjectiveofbuildingagamecapableofintroducingchildrento programmingwasnottocompareitwiththeothergamesandtoys,theyareallverysimilarto eachother,buttoassesstheeffectivenessoftheapproachoflettingchildrengainexperience withthebasicsofprogramminglogicwhileplayingagame. Averypopularrelatedinitiativethatstartedasaweb­browsergameinthelastdecade, andwaslatelyupgradedforamulti­platformapproach,isLight­Bot:Programmingpuzzles

(Figure16),wheretheuserguidesarobotwithsimplecommandswiththegoaloflighting

12

13

12 http://lightbot.com/

13 http://primo.io

bluefloorspacesintoyellowones.Itgraduallyputsusersincontactwithsomeprogramming

coreconceptssuchasbasicalgorithmdevelopment,procedurecalls,andrecursiveness.

Figure16: LightBot Source:

Figure16:LightBot

Source:http://lightbot.com/(Accessedon02/12/2015)

TheLight­Botinitiativedividedthegameintwomainversions,acommonversion

designedforpublicingeneral,andajuniorversiondesignedforchildrenbetween4and8

yearsold.Code.org ,anon­profitableorganizationwiththegoalofbringingprogramming classes to schools, recognizes Light­Bot as a good approach to introducing children to programmingconcepts.

ThemainproductthatinspiredthisworkwastheCubetto(Figure17)fromprimo.io

initiative,whichconsistsofarobotwithasimpleelectronicboardandacubicleform.

14

14 Figure17: Cubetto Source: www.primo.io(Accessedon04/11/2015)

Figure17:Cubetto

Source:www.primo.io(Accessedon04/11/2015)

14 http://code.org

Cubetto iscontrolledbyawirelesswoodenboard(Figure18)thatprovides,what primo.ioinitiativecalls,aphysicalprogramminginterface,andwithasetofcommandbricks, enableschildrentodevelopanddebugbasicprograms.

enableschildrentodevelopanddebugbasicprograms. Figure18: A physicalprogramminginterface Source:

Figure18:Aphysicalprogramminginterface

Source:https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1039674461/

primo­teaching­programming­logic­to­children­age­4(Accessedon02/12/2015)

Theprimo.ioinitiativemadethecubettorobotanextensiblerobotbybuildingitona Arduinoboard.Arduinoisalow­costopen­sourceandextensibleelectronicplatformwitha nativeprogrammingenvironmentthatsimplifies thebuildingprocessofelectronicsystems. Due to the extensibility factor, cubetto, at first, was interpreted as a good fit for the experimentsplannedforthiswork,butatthattime,primo.iowasstillinproduction,anddid

notintendtodelivercubettotothemarketuntilthethirdquarterof2015,makingitimpossible

touseitasanassetinthisresearch.

Torecreatethefloorturtle'sexperimentofthe80swithanewapproach,arobotwasneeded,

andascubettowasnoteligible,amorecomplexrobotwaschosentobethe"turtle"ofthe game,theSphero (Figure19).Itisnotopenandextensibleascubetto,butitisaspherical robot with many built­in sensors, and Software Development Kits(SDKs)toenablethe developmentofthird­partyapplicationstocontrolitsmovementsandsensors.

15

16

15 http://www.arduino.cc/

16 http://www.gosphero.com/

Figure19: Sphero Source: https://www.gosphero.com Astudy presentedonthePediatricAcademicSociety(PAS)annualmeetingof2015,

Figure19:Sphero

Source:https://www.gosphero.com

Astudy presentedonthePediatricAcademicSociety(PAS)annualmeetingof2015, affirmsthatmorethanonethirdofone­yearoldchildrenandyoungerareallowedbytheir parentstousesmartdevicessuchastabletsandsmartphonesintheUnitedStates,andthe

percentagegrowswiththeage.Furthermore,itfoundthatapproximately73%ofAmerican

parentsallowedtheirchildrentousesmartdevices.

Theseresultssuggestthatregardingthesocio­economicfactor,mostparentsallow

theirchildrentogetusedtonewtechnologies,anditispossibletousesuchtechnological

devicesassupportsforchildren'sdevelopmentofnewskills.Basedonthescenariowhere

childrenaregettingfamiliarwithcomputersandsmartdevicessooner,atabletdevicewas

electedtoserveascontrollertotheSpherorobot.

Tocompletetheideationprocess,thegame'schallengeswerestilltobedefined.The

gameneededdifferentlevelsofdifficulty.Thefirstideafordefiningalevelwasapathseton

ahorizontalflatplatformwhereasequenceofcommandsleadstherobotfromoneplaceto

another.Additionstoeachlevelaredescribedthroughoutthenextsections.

17

3.1Pilotversiondevelopment,testingandresults

Thefirstversionofthegame'sapplication(i.ethedigitalpartofthegame,thesmart device application) was developed primarily based on Light­Bot. To minimally enable playing,theapplicationneededasetofcommandstobesenttotherobot,aqueuetoputthe commandsin,andastartbutton,buttofulfilltherequirementsofthiswork,thefollowing otherfunctionalitieswereneeded:scorecalculation,storageandexportdata.

17 http://aapnews.aappublications.org/content/early/2015/04/25/aapnews.20150425­3accessedin

05/20/2015

So,inordertoallowdatacollection,theapplicationiscapableof:recordingdatawhile thechildisplaying;calibratingtherobotthroughacalibrationview(whichisrequiredtogive therobottherightorientation);andallowingtheinsertionoftheuser'sname,ageandlevel. Foreveryattemptofthechild(i.e.andhe/shepressesthestartbutton),theapplicationsavesa recordofthesequenceofcommandshe/shesenttotherobot,andcalculates ascore. Inordertodifferentiate attemptsfromoneanother,forthefirstversion,scoreswere calculatedaccordingtoaformuladefinedas:numberofcommandstimesfive(justadeltato makethenumbermoresignificant),timesnumberofdifferentcommands.Asanexample,if the set of commands was: "forward, forward, turn left, forward", the score would be

calculatedas4*5*2(4commands,timesadelta,timesthenumberofdifferentcommands).

Thescoreenablescomparisonsbetweenmanyattemptsforthesamelevel.

Figure20displaystheapplication’smainscreen:theusercanplaceasequenceof

commandsontheredtrailtobeexecuted(startingfromlefttoright,followingthetrail).At

thebottomgreybarasetofcommandsisavailabletobedraggedanddroppedonthetrail,and

atthebottom­rightisastartbutton("Iniciar"inPortuguese)tomakethespherorobotexecute

theactionsdefinedontheredtrail.

theactionsdefinedontheredtrail. Figure20: Application’spilotversionmainscreen 39

Figure20:Application’spilotversionmainscreen

Inordertocollectmoreinformationabouteachchildwhoplaysthegame,different

levelsofdifficultywererequired.Threelevelsweredesignedtofulfilthisrequirement;each

oneofthemincreasestheminimumnumberofcommandsneededtocompletionofthelast

one.Tocompletethegamethereareonlythreedifferentcommandsneeded:moveforward

andturnleftandright.

andturnleftandright. Figure21: Designofthethreegamelevels.

Figure21:Designofthethreegamelevels.

ThedesignofthethreelevelsisdetailedinFigure21.Thecirclesrepresentvalid

positionsoftherobotduringplay:thebluecircleisthestartingpoint,theredoneistheend point, and the green circles represent valid transitory points. The arrows represent the commandstobeexecutedtoreachtheendofeachlevel:thegreenarrowrepresentsthemove forward command, the blue arrow turn right, and the orange arrowturnleft.Acounter indicates the minimumnumberofcommandsneededtocompleteeachlevel,makingthe

increasingdifficultybetweenlevelsexplicit.(from3to7commands).

Whiledevelopingthegame'sapplication,anissuewasidentifiedregardingthesphero and the designed levels, the sphero's plastic material was not appropriate to run the experiments, due to the fact that the material wasnotadherent,makingtherobotmove imprecisely.Toavoidthislackofaccuracythatcausedtherobottomakedifferentdistances witheach"moveforward"command,thespherorobotwascoveredwitharubbercover,and

thematwasbuiltwithEVA(EthyleneVinylAcetate)toincreasetherobot'sadherencewith thegroundandavoidittosliparound. The main objective of the pilot was to identify major flaws in the game, and understandifitwaspossibleandviabletocorrecttheseflawsforthemainexperiments.To runthepilot,mainlytwothingswererequired:aroomwithenoughspaceforthechildto

movearoundandplay,andforatleast3adultsandthechildandthecompanyofatleastone

personlegallyresponsibleforthechild.Thepilotfollowedtheroadmapdescribedbelow:

● Theresearcherintroducesthegametothechild;

● The child is invited to move the robot freely without levels to understand the mechanics;

● After5to15minutesthechildisinvitedtostartthefirstlevel;

● Whenthechildcompletesonelevel,itispossibletostartthenextone.

Thetestendsifthechildcompletesalllevels,getstiredofplaying,orreaches1hourofplay.

Onechildwasselectedtoparticipateinthepilot,accordingtotheprofilerequired:afive­year

oldgirlwithhighintimacywithtechnology,whomwillbecalledMtopreserveidentity.The

pilottookplaceinaroomatM'shousewithmanytoysaround,whichdirectlyaffectedher

focusonthegame.Herfatherandbrotherwerepresenthelpingtheresearchertointeractwith

her.

ThepilotteststartedwithademonstrationofthegametoMandherfather,whowas helpingwiththetesttryingtomaintainMfocusedonthetasks.AfterthedemonstrationM hadalessonofhowthebasicmechanicsoftheapplicationworked,whichsheunderstood veryquickly.Thenshetriedtocontroltherobotfreelyonthefloorthroughtheapplicationto getfamiliarwithit,withoutagamelevelorparticulargoal. Whenfirstplayingwiththegame,Mshowedbigexcitementandunderstoodthebasic mechanicsverywell,thedraganddropandstartbuttonfunctionalities,andthetrailsequence

werelearnedinlessthan5minutesofplay.However,agreatdifficultywasfacedbyM:she

was quite confused when selecting turnarrows,shewasnotintimatewithleftandright definitionsandapparentlytheturnarrowswerechosenbytrialanderror. Aftermasteringthebasiccontrols,Mdecidedtomovetothefirstlevelofthegame

showedinFigure22.TheresearcherwasguidingMthroughtheinteractiontowatchher

closely and support her every time she needed, but she was working freely with the application.Questionslike“Whichwaymusttherobotfollownow?”wereraisedtostimulate

hertointeractandatmanytimessheshowedadeepthinkingcountenance;withonly3trials

(Table 1) she was able to complete the first level and celebrated it with joy, but the

completion of the level was not clear, because of the lack of accuracy on the robot's

movement,itwentoffthepathbeforeturningcausingthebadimpressionofamistake,butthe

researchclarifiedthequestionandexplainedtoMthatshesuccessfullycompletedthelevel.

Attemp

Commands

t

1

MoveForward.

2

MoveForward,TurnLeft,MoveForward.

3

MoveForward,TurnRight,MoveForward.

Table1:M'sfirstthreeattemptsonlevel1

Thepresenceofthefamilyaroundwasveryhelpful,everytimeshelookedawayfrom

theactivity,thefathertriedtoplaythegameandsheimmediatelycamebacktoplaywith

him, apparently the game also provides agoodsocialexperiencewheremanyuserscan

competeandmakeitmoreattractive.

game also provides agoodsocialexperiencewheremanyuserscan competeandmakeitmoreattractive. Figure22: Firstlevelofthegame 42

Figure22:Firstlevelofthegame

Immediatelywhenthefirstlevelwascompleted,theresearcheraskedifMwantedto goforwardandtrythesecondchallenge,andsheagreedwithenthusiasm.Facingthesecond

level(Figure23)washard,astheleft/rightdefinitionsapparentlywerenotclear,andMhada

lotoftroubletryingtocompletethelevel.Thebestsequencesheachievedwasasequence withaturnactionmissingcausingthespherorobottogetoutofthetrail.Moreovertherobot did notreactwhenaturncommandwassentalone,orasequenceendedwithaturning command,causingabadexperienceconfusingtheturningfunctionalityfurther. Aftersomefailedattemptstocompletethesecondlevel,M’sfrustrationlevelroseand

shegottiredofthegameafteraround20minutesplaying.Whilestillplayingthesecond

level,Mincreasedherscoreaftereachattemptbutfailedforthreetimes,andwhenfacingso

manyfailedattemptsshegotfrustrated.Thealgorithmswerenotbeingdevelopedwiththe

sameenthusiasmcausingmorefailedattemptswithlesschanceofcompletion,andthenshe

askedtostopplaying.

askedtostopplaying. Figure23: Secondlevelofthegame

Figure23:Secondlevelofthegame

Whenshewasfrustratedwiththegame,theresearcheraskedMifshelikedthegame,

andsheansweredthatitwasnotverygood,butafewminuteslaterwhenherparentsaskedif

sheliked,sheansweredthatitwasgreat,morelikelybecausesherememberedwhenshe

playedwithherfatherandbrother,probablyanapproachwithmorethanonechildcouldbe interestingmakingthemplaytogetherpracticingtheirsocialskills. Analyzingthedatacollectedfromtheapplicationmadeitclearthattheformulaof scorecalculationwasnotveryaccurate:ifawrongsetofoperationswaschosen,thescore keptrising,whichisnotinterestingfordataanalysis,causingtheformulatoberedefined. Although the score calculation was inaccurate, the difficulty of thelevelsshowedtobe balanced,asthesecondlevelwashardertocompletethanthefirstone,buttherewasonlya

2­commanddifferencebetweenthem.

NoticingthedifficultypresentedbyMwiththeturningoperations,anewapproachof

visualinterfacewasrequiredtoimprovetheresultsoftheupcomingtests.Mapparentlywas

morecomfortablewiththetabletonthelandscapeposition,sotheapplicationwouldbecome

moreintuitiveiftheoperationstrailchangedtheorientation,goingbottomtotop,insteadof

fromthelefttoright,andalsoachangeoftheturningiconswasrequired,astheywerenot

veryclear.

Themajorflawsidentifiedinthepilotarelistedbelow:

● Theturningfunctionalitieswereconfusing,astheydonotmaketherobotturnand move;

● Childrenofearlyagedonotunderstandwhatisleftorright,causingmoreconfusion onturningfunctionalities;

● Setofcommandsendingwithaturningarrowcausedabadexperiencebecauseitdid notgiveanyfeedbackofworkingproperly;

● The score calculation formula was not accurate, so the data was not adequately representativeoftheexperiment;

● Theredtrailofthevisualinterfacewasnotpositionedinthemostintuitivelocation, thelandscape/portraitpositionofthetrailwasconfusing.

● Therobotlackedmovementaccuracy,causingittomovemorethannecessary,leading itoffthetrack;

3.2Betaversionusedfortheexperiment

Anewversionoftheapplicationwasdevelopedaccordingtotheresultsofthepilot. Thegamelevelsneededtobemodifiedtohelpthechildrentobetterunderstandtheturning operations.Indicationsofturnswereplacedonthecornerstomakeiteasiertounderstandthe left/rightdefinitions,usingcolorstoidentifytheturnsinsteadofsaying"left"or"right"tothe children.Itwasnecessarytoidentifythecornerswiththeturnoperationscolorstomakea connectionbetweentheturningsideandtheoperationtobeused. Aslightbutusefulchangewasmadeonthevisualinterfaceoftheturningarrowsas theywerenotclearenough.Acommandsenttoturntherobotisexpectedtochangeits orientation,andwaitfora"MoveForward"commandtoactuallymove,whichisacommon behaviourofLight­Botandprimo.io(Cubetto)initiatives.Inthepilotversion,theturning arrowsgavetheimpressionofturningandmovingonthesamecommand,soitwaschanged tolookmorelikethe"Light­bot"arrow,tohelpconveyingtheideaofchangingorientation. Furthermore,inordertolowerthebarriersforchildren'sunderstandingoftheleft/right

definitions,2setsofyellowandbluepaperconeswerebuilttobeplacedoneachcornerofthe

physical trail to serve as reference for turning actions. The communication betweenthe researcher andthechildrenwaseasedbyusingmoresignificantcolorsforthecommand arrowsontheinterface.Inspiredintrafficlights,greenreplacedred,meaning"Go","Move Forward", and pink was changed to yellow to match the turning commands with the respectivepaperconeonthecorners.Bluewasalreadymatchingoneofthecone'scolor,so therewasnoneedforchange. TheSpherorobotisaball,anditisnotveryclearwhenitchangestheorientation,soa smallvisualfeedbackwasimplementedtorepresentthatchange,whentheuserpreparesthe setofcommandstobeexecuted,ifitendswithaturningcommandtherobotslightlymove towardstherespectivedirection,notperformingafull"MoveForward"operation,justto showthatsomethingelseisneededtocompletetheactionofturningandmoving. Another important change identified in the pilot version was toupdatethescore calculationformula.Thepilotversionformuladidnottakeintoaccounttherightorwrong moves performed by the robot, it calculated the scores based on types and quantity of commandsusedtocreatethealgorithm.Foranewapproach,thelevelsneededtobemapped into coordinates and scores were calculated based on valid movements, i.e. movements

between two valid points. A valid movement was considered toworth5pointsandthe formulawasupdatedto:numberofvalidmovementsmultipliedbythecurrentgamelevel.

Figure24showsthescoresforeverypossiblevalidendingpoint.

Figure24showsthescoresforeverypossiblevalidendingpoint. Figure24: Allvalidendingpointsandrespectivescores.

Figure24:Allvalidendingpointsandrespectivescores.

Iftheuserleadstherobottoanon­validpointthescoreisrecordedasthelastvalid ending point reached. If the user leads the robot to the level's endpoint, the attempt is registeredaslevelcompletedanditispossibletoadvancetothenextlevel. An important user interface change was the red trail's orientation, in landscape position itwashardertounderstandthecommand'sflow.Forthegametobecomemore comfortabletheorientationoftheredtrailwasrotatedtoportraitposition. Thelastimprovementmadeforthebetaversionweretheobstaclesinsertedonthe corneredges,tokeeptherobotwithinthelimitsofthephysicalpath.Becausethesphero's movement is not accurate, the"MoveForward"commandledtherobotoutofthepath,

leavingthewrongimpressionoffailuremostofthetimes.Figure25showshowthesecond

levelandtheapplicationwereredesignedwithallthechangesdescribedinthissection.

Figure25: Level2andapplicationredesign 3.3Theexperiment,testingthegame'sbetaversionwithchildren

Figure25:Level2andapplicationredesign

3.3Theexperiment,testingthegame'sbetaversionwithchildren

Inordertounderstandifthegamebuiltforthisworkachievesitsgoalofgetting youngchildreninterestedinprogramming,firstweneededtotestthegamewithpotential users,observeandanalyzethegathereddatatoidentifyifthegameisagoodapproachfor makingchildrendevelopprogrammingskills. Theroadmapforthetestsfollowedthesameasthepilot,howeverextraattentionwas giventochildrenwhentheyfirstinteractedwiththegame.Whenthechildstartedmovingthe robotaroundfreely,somesmalltasksweregivendependingontheplacethetestwasrun, suchas:"Trytoreachthewallwiththerobot",or,"Makeaturnandreachthechair",inorder tohelpthemfigurethecommandsoutandhavefewerproblemswhenfacingthegamelevels. After the free exploration phase, at any levelwhenaluckyguesswassuspectedbythe researcher,thechildwasgivenanewtasktoretrythelevelonareversetrack,toassureitwas

nomatterofluck,andthenthechildmovedtothenextlevel.Figure26showsachildplaying

withtherobotatthefreeexplorationphaseoftheexperiment.

Figure26: Childplayingfreelywiththerobot Thechildren'sprofilewassimilartothechildinvolvedinthepilot,theexperimentwas

Figure26:Childplayingfreelywiththerobot

Thechildren'sprofilewassimilartothechildinvolvedinthepilot,theexperimentwas

designedfor3groupsof3childrenwithhighintimacywithtechnology.The9childrenwere

putintogroupsofthesameage,betweentheagesof4and6years­old.Eachtestwasguided

bytheresearcher,andaccompaniedbyatleastonepersonresponsibleforthechild,bothof them,wereabletointeractwiththechild,consideringthattheresearchersometimesneeded helpwiththecommunication.Basedonthedatacollectedfromthetests,thenextsections explain how each group of children interacted with the game and how was their score

performancethroughthelevels,andpresentacomparisonbetweenthe3groups.

3.3.1The4year­old'sanalysis

The youngest group of participants required a lot more effort than the others. Four­year­old children are still learning to focus on a specific task, and their short concentrationspanisthemainchallengefortheinstructororteacher.Althoughthefrustration levelofthisagegrouprisesmoreeasilythantheolderones,allthesessionsoftheexperiment

lasted1hourinaverage(varyingbetween50and70minutes).

Figure27: 4year­oldchildplayingthefirstlevel. Childreninthisgroupneededbetween10and15minutestogetusedtothemechanics

Figure27:4year­oldchildplayingthefirstlevel.

Childreninthisgroupneededbetween10and15minutestogetusedtothemechanics

ofthegame,movingtherobotfreelyusingtheapplication.Theytendedtobeanxioustoplay withthetabletandseetherobot'sreactionforeachattemptBriefdemonstrationsofhowto useinteractwiththesystemhelpedtoreducetheanxietyandbetterpreparedthechildrento facethefirstlevel. Facingthefirstlevelwasverychallengingforallthechildrenofthisgroup.Ittook themanaverageoftwentyminutestosolveit,withoneexceptionofachildwhotookless thantenminutes,whichraisedthepossibilityofaluckyguess.So,hewaspresentedthe

reversetrack,andcompletedthelevelwithinanothertenminutes.Figure27showsafouryear

oldplayingthefirstlevel.

Everytimethefrustrationlevelrose,childrenwereaskediftheystillwantedtoplay,

andnochildgaveupduetofrustration.Oneofthemtriedmanytimestosolvethesecond

levelandafteralmostthirtyminutesthetestwasstoppedbecauseitwastakingtoolong.

Althoughhewasalittlefrustratedwiththefailedattemptshedidnotwanttostopplaying.

Thisobservation,alongwiththeexperiment'saveragedurationmetricandthesuccesstheyall

hadonthefirstlevel,madeusbelievethatthegameisinterestingforthisgroup.Four­year

oldchildrenareattractedtoplaythegameandareabletodevelopalgorithmsusingthiskind

oftool.

Thisgroupwasthemostheterogeneous.Onlyoneofthechildwasabletofinishthe

threedesignedlevels,onereachedthethirdlevel,andanotheronewasstoppedonthesecond

level,whenthetestwastakingtoolong,theresearchersuggestedthestoppagesuspendingthe

test.Thedatacollectedfromthetestsreflectthisheterogeneity,andthechartsbelowthat

summarizethedatacollectedconfirmit.

Forabetterunderstandingofthechartsitisimportanttonoticethattheyrepresentthe

scoreevolutionofachildaftereachvalidattempt,ifthechildrepeatsthesamecommandsor

startstheattemptwithoutthelevelpropersetupitisnotconsideredvalid.Anotherimportant

observedfactisthatmostofthechildrenwhenstartinganewlevelcanpresentasignificant

decreaseontheirscore,duetostartingdevelopinganewalgorithm.Torepresentandmake

clearwhenthischaracteristicmayapply,abluedotwasaddedonthehorizontalaxisforevery

startofalevelonallScorexAttemptscharts.Inaddition,thegreendotsrepresenttheother

attempts,i.e.thelastgreendotbeforeabluedotistheattemptthatcorrespondstothelevel

completion.

completion. Chart1: First4year­oldScorexAttempts

Chart1:First4year­oldScorexAttempts

Thefirstfouryearoldchildtoplaythegameraisedthedoubtofaluckyguess,asitis

observedonChart1,withonlytwoattemptshewasabletocompletethefirstlevel.Afterthe

reversetrackcompletionhewaspresentedtothesecondlevel,markedwiththesecondblue

dotonChart1,withinthefirsttwovalidattemptsonthelevelthechildwasnotabletoscore

anypoints.Althoughhewasverymotivatedtocompletethegame,hewasnotabletofinish thesecondlevelwithoutconsiderablehelpofpeoplearound.Thetestwasstoppedmainly becauseofthetimeitwastaking,andtheresultsindicatedabadperformance,butitwasmade clearthatthechildwasabletodevelopalgorithmsandprobablywithothersessionshewould improvehisperformance. Onthesecondtestofthisgroupthechildtriedaconsiderableamountofdifferentvalid setsofcommands.Shehadproblemsonfiguringouthowtocompletethefirstlevel,whichis

observedonChart2,asherscoreoscillatesfrequentlyuntilthecompletion,toguaranteeit

wasnotaluckyguess,shewasaskedtodothereversetracksimilarlyasthefirsttest;she concludedbothtrackssuccessfullyandmovedtothesecondlevel.Sheplayedthesecond level with a good performance and was able to reuse part of the first level's solution, continuouslyimprovingtheresults.Atthethirdlevel(markedbythethirdbluedotonChart 2), she was also able to reuse part of the commands, and the score oscillated between attempts.Whenshewasonecommandawayfromcompletingthethirdlevel,thefrustration levelroseandshewastiredwithinonehouroftest.Herperformancewasconsideredregular andsheprovedcompletelyabletodevelopalgorithms.

andsheprovedcompletelyabletodevelopalgorithms. Chart2: Second4year­oldScorexAttempts 51

Chart2:Second4year­oldScorexAttempts

Thethirdchildofthegrouphadthebestperformance,showinganaturalprogramming

ability,withinlessthan10minutesplayingfreely(beforethefirstlevel),sheperformed3

minortasksmovingtherobotaround.Thechildcompletedallthethreelevelswithouthaving a score decrease, as summarized in Chart 3,ararefactcomparingwithallthechildren involved.Herperformancewasconsideredaboveaverage.

involved.Herperformancewasconsideredaboveaverage. Chart3: Third4year­oldScorexAttempts

Chart3:Third4year­oldScorexAttempts

Thisgroupwasveryheterogeneous,allthechildreninvolvedwereabletocomplete

thefirstlevel,andthescorenormallyincreasesovertimeasobservedonCharts1,2and3.

Thefactthatallofthemaffirmedthattheylikedthegame,andwouldwanttoplayasecond time, leads ustobelievethatthegameisagoodapproachtointroduceprogrammingto four­yearoldchildren.

3.3.2The5year­old'sanalysis

Thesecondgroupfinishedthetestonansimilaraveragetimetothefirstgroup (one hour),butasexpectedtheirperformancewasbetter,probablybecausechildrenofthisage grouptendtofocusmoreonactivitiesinwhichtheyareinterested.Followingtheroadmap theygotusedtothemechanicsplayingwiththerobotfreelyduringapproximatelytenminutes andthenstartedthefirstlevel.

Childrenofthisgroupingeneralweremoreintimatewithtechnology,whichledthem

togetusedtothemechanicsquickerthanthe4year­olds.Allchildrencompletedthefirst

level without further difficulties, but the second level was crucial, the motivation rose considerably when they finished the second level, Figure 28 shows a 5yearoldchild celebratingthecompletionofthesecondlevel.Withthemotivationincreasedallchildrenof thisgroupwereabletocompletethethirdlevel,finishingthewholetestsuccessfully,oneof

themalsoaskedformorelevels,inPortugueseshequestioned:"Nexttime,itwillbelevels4,

and5right?".

Nexttime,itwillbelevels4, and5right? ". Figure28: 5y.ochildcelebratingthecompletionofthesecondlevel.

Figure28:5y.ochildcelebratingthecompletionofthesecondlevel.

Thefirstchildofthisgroupfacedsomedifficultiesonthefirstlevel,whendebugging the algorithm her scoredecreased,butassoonasshefiguredoutwhatwasthebugshe

completedthefirstandsecondlevelconsecutivelyonafewattemptsobservedonChart4.

Facingthethirdlevelshereusedsomeofthealgorithmofthesecondlevel,butencountereda bug and similarly as in the first level, once she debugged it she completed the level successfully.

Chart4: First5year­oldScorexAttempts Thesecondchildwasverydifferent,hadnoproblemsfacingthefirstlevel,butthe

Chart4:First5year­oldScorexAttempts

Thesecondchildwasverydifferent,hadnoproblemsfacingthefirstlevel,butthe

secondlevelwasmorechallenging,asdemonstratedonChart5,betweenthesecondandthe

thirdbluedotonthehorizontalaxishevariedbetween10and20scorepointsforalongtime,

ittookmorethan30minutesforhimtofinishthelevelreaching30points.Thedifficulties

facedonthesecondlevelapparentlygavethechildexpertisetofacethethirdlevel,assince

thestartofthechallengemarkedonthethirdbluedot,hecompleteditwithafewattempts.

Chart5: Second5year­oldScorexAttempts Thethirdtestoccurredwithoutanyissues,thechildperformanceincreasedgradually

Chart5:Second5year­oldScorexAttempts

Thethirdtestoccurredwithoutanyissues,thechildperformanceincreasedgradually overeachattempt,andnofurtherdebuggingwasneededexceptforthebeginningofthethird level marked with the third blue dot on the horizontal axis of Chart 6, whenthechild preferredtorestartthealgorithmfromscratch.Thechildgotverymotivatedonplayingmore, wantedtocontinueplayingafterthetestwasover,andsimilarlytothefirstchildofthisgroup askedformorechallenginglevels.

Chart6: Third5year­oldScorexAttempts 3.3.3The6year­old'sanalysis

Chart6:Third5year­oldScorexAttempts

3.3.3The6year­old'sanalysis

Childrenofthisgroupwereverydifferentthantheprevioustwo,moreexperienced andintimatewithtechnology,theirperformancewasconsiderablybetter.Asthefirsttaskof

theroadmapdescribes,theytooksometimeplayingwiththerobotfreely.Withlessthan5

minutesplayingaround,allofthemgotusedtothemechanicsandstartedthefirstlevel.The

averagetimeofthisgroup'stestwas30minutesapproximately,whenthethirdlevelwas

completed. Althoughmostofthemspentmostofthetimeonthefirstlevel,theyhadnotrouble facingboththefirstandsecondlevel.NormallyinBrazil,atsixyearsoldachildstartstoread andwrite,whichmayenablethemtoworkwithmorecomplexapplicationssuchasScratch forexample.Theperformanceandskillsthesixyearoldsshowedwhenfacingthethirdlevel

wasbeyondexpectations.Figure29showsa6yearoldplayingthethirdlevel.Thechildren

were able to solve puzzles by building algorithms playing the game, butforthisgroup

specificallyitmaynotbethebestapproachtointroducechildrentoprogramming,as1outof

3childrenthoughtthatthegamewastoosimple.Itmayseemadrawbackbutactuallyisa

goodfinding;olderchildrenmaydemandhigherchallenges.

Figure29: 6y.ochildplayingthethirdlevel. Thefirstsixyear­oldchildshowedagoodperformance,increasinghisscoregradually

Figure29:6y.ochildplayingthethirdlevel.

Thefirstsixyear­oldchildshowedagoodperformance,increasinghisscoregradually betweenthefirstandthestartofthethirdlevel(intervalbetweenthefirstandthethirddoton

Chart7);thesecondattemptofthethirdlevelraisedabugthatmadehimdecreasethescore

from 45 to 30. It tookhimapproximately5minutestosolvethebug,andwith2more attemptshewasabletocompletethetest.

Chart7: First6year­oldScorexAttempts Aninterestingcomparisonbetweenthefirstandthesecondtestofthisgroupwasthat

Chart7:First6year­oldScorexAttempts

Aninterestingcomparisonbetweenthefirstandthesecondtestofthisgroupwasthat

theywereexecutedwith2boyswithacloserelationship,theyweretwinbrothers,although

theystudiedatthesameschoolandlivedinthesamehousebythesamesetofrules,their resultswereverydifferent.Thesecondchildhadsomedifficultiestofigurethegameoutand completingthefirstlevel,butwhenhecompletedthefirstchallengehereusedapartofthe solutiontocompletethesecondlevel,andreuseditfurtherontosolvethethirdlevel;his

scoreincreasedprogressivelyandwithonly2attempts(scoring45and60consecutively)he

completedthemostdifficultlevelasChart8clarifies.

Chart8: Second6year­oldScorexAttempts Thethirdtestwasveryelucidativeasthechildinvolvedwastheonlyonethatshowed

Chart8:Second6year­oldScorexAttempts

Thethirdtestwasveryelucidativeasthechildinvolvedwastheonlyonethatshowed nofurtherinterestinthegame,ashecommentedattheendofthetestinPortuguese:"Iliked it,butitistooeasy".Thechild'sparentadvertedthathewasveryintimatewithtechnology andloveddigitalpuzzlegames,whichprobablyraisedhisperformance.Heshowedhigh debuggingskillswhenfacingaproblemonthefirstlevelsolvingitonthesecondattempt,and reusedthesolutiontocompletethesecondlevelwithonlyoneattempt.Facingthethirdlevel healsoreusedthesolutionofthepreviousone,allowinghimtosolvethechallengewithin

twoattempts.Chart9helpstoidentifyhowthescoreprogressivelyincreasedfrom5to60

withatotaloffiveattempts.

Chart9: Third6year­old.ScorexAttempts 3.3.4Acomparisonbetweenthethreegroups

Chart9:Third6year­old.ScorexAttempts

3.3.4Acomparisonbetweenthethreegroups

Ingeneral,ofthe3levels,thefirstonehasadifferentchallenge,whichisbreakingthe

barrierstodevelopingalgorithms.Mostofthechildrenshowedsomedifficultywhenfacingit, as they were still gettingusedtothemechanicsandhowtherobotshouldreacttoeach command.Forthisreason,everychildthatcompletesthefirstlevel,withnodoubtsofalucky guess,wasconsideredabletodevelopalgorithms,andanapproachusingthegameasatool couldbeagoodwaytodevelopprogrammingskills,aslongasthechildgetsinterestedinthe game.

Mostofthechildreninvolvedintheexperimentshowedgreatinterestinthegameand wereabletofinishthefirstlevelleadingustobelievethatpreschoolerchildrenstartingatthe

ageof4areabletobegindevelopingprogrammingskills.

3.4Chaptersummary

Thischapterdetailedhowthegameusedwasbuilt,andwhichstudiesandproducts servedasreferencesforitsmainconcept.Apilotwasrunatfirsttoidentifythemainflawsof the prototype, and most of the issues caused by these flaws were solved during the

development.Ninechildrenwithexperienceincomputergamesandtechnologytookpartin theexperimentandtheresearchconcludedthatallofthemwereabletodevelopalgorithms, and the performance of each child increased with time. This approach on developing computational thinking inyoungchildrenusingsmartdevicesfocusesonlettingchildren interactwithcertaintechnologiesthatcanbeharmfulandcauseasetofproblemsifthechild isnotwellsupervisioned,thenextchapterpresentstherisksinvolvedinlettingunsupervised childrenplaywithsmartdevicesandtheinternet,andalsoprovidessomeinformationonhow tomitigatetherisksallowingparentsandteacherstousetechnologytoempowerchildrenthe thispresentedworkadvocates.

4.Riskassessment,andmitigation.

Althoughthisworkfocusesonsettingupsomeofthebenefitsoftheguidedexposure ofyoungchildrentosmartdevicessuchasdevelopingprogrammingskills,itisimportantto understand the risks that the unsupervised usage of suchtechnologycanhave,andwhy parentsshouldbeconcernedaboutwhattheirchildrenarebeingincontactwith.Thissection reviewssomeofthelatestresearchonsocialandbiologicalnegativeimpactsthatusingsmart devicesandaccessingtheinternetyoungchildrenandteenagerscanhave,assessingtherisks ofsuchexposureandraisingpossiblewaystoavoidit. With the introduction of the internet and chat services, the world started to communicateindifferentways.Afewyearsaftertheinternetwasmadeaccessibletothe generalpublic,theopportunitytocreateonlinegameswasjustonestepaheadtocreatingan environmentwherepeoplecouldinteractwitheachother,entertainthemselvesanddomany otherthingswithoutgettingoutoftheirbedrooms.Unfortunately,inthisonlineworlditis easytoforgetabouttimeandspendmorethanafewhoursconnected,anditiswellknown

thatpeoplecanbeonlinegamingorchattingformorethan24hoursinarow,causingsevere

consequencestotheirbodies. Withtheadventofsmartdevices,thisonlineworldjustenlargesitself,morepeople canbeconnected,andtechnologyismoreaccessible,anditisalsoportable,peoplecanuseit everywhereandstayonline.Whatismoreaggravatinginthissituationisthatnotonlyadults, butpeoplefromallagesaregettingexperienceswiththeinternet,duetosmartphonesand

tablets'easyaccess(LEE,J.2013).

AccordingtoPark,C.&Park,Y.(2014)itisdangeroustoletyoungchildrenuse

smartphonesortabletsandgetaccesstointernetontheirown.Smartdevicesarepassivetools withwhichyoucanjustabsorbcontent,childrenarenotreadyto"defend"themselvesagainst allthecontentthatcanbeshownonscreen.Forthisreason,theyoungerthechildis,more supervisionedtheyshouldbebyanadult. Content available on the internet may be harmful for peoplethatarenotmature enough (teenagers and children in general), and research has shown that in some cases unsupervised exposure to smart devices and internet can lead to serious problems like

addiction,loneliness,depression,compulsion,aggressiveness,obesity,andothers(PARK,C.

&PARK,R.2014).

InSouthKorea,astudywasconductedaimingtounderstandtheuseconditionof

smartdevicesbychildrenandhowparentingcanaffectthisusage.Thisstudyinvolved500

parentsfromtwoKoreancitiesandtheresultswerebasedontheanalysisofquestionnaire responses.Importantnumbersraisedbythestudyarethat,mostofthetime,toddlersare

exposedtosmartdeviceswhentheyarewiththeirmothers(73%)andmorethanhalfofthe

parentsbelievedthatsmartdevicesareneededfortheirchildren.Thestudyalsoraisedthe mainmotiveswhysmartdevicesareneeded,theybelievedmainlyintheaspectoflearning, secondlyitwasneededtofollowthetrend,andalsotoavoidchildrenbotheringtheirparents

andplayontheirown(LEE,J.2013).

The third main reason that parents believe their children need a smart device is probably the most intriguing of them,becauseaccordingtoLee,J.(2013)27.3%ofthe parentsrespondedthattheyneededtheirchildrentostopbotheringthem,whichindirectly meansthattheyarelettingthechildrentousethesmartphonesortabletswithlowsupervision ornotatall.StillaccordingtoLee,mostofthetime,childrenusageofsmartdevicesisfor watching animations,andlisteningtosongs,butparentsshouldinterveneactivelyonthe usageofsmartphonesandtabletsbytheirchildren.

AccordingtoPark,C.&Park,Y.(2014)parentsareusuallybusywithwork,andthen

providesmartphonestotheirchildrentoavoiddisturbance,thisisoneofthereasonsthat smartphoneaddictionisincreasingonSouthKoreauponthelastfewyears.Furthermorethe amountofeducationalapplicationshasgrownanditalsocontributestoincreasingchildren's usage of smart devices. Also, this fact is causing adecreaseontheamountofphysical activitiesperformedbychildrenwhichcanleadtoaseriesofproblemsforexampleobesity, diabetesandcardiacdiseases.Duetochildren'ssmartphoneaddiction,aresearchhasbeen donewiththeobjectiveofcreatingaconceptualmodeltocontextualizetheantecedentsand theconsequencesofsuchaddictiononyoungchildren. Theantecedentsweredividedintotwosubgroups,parentalvariablesthatareallthe attributesthatconcernedtheresponsiblepersonforthechildren,andchildvariables.Starting with the parental variables, in South Korea where the adoption of smartphones (which

changedfromacommoncellphonetoasmartphone)ishigherthan90%,itwasfoundthat

parents that have less income tend to postpone their children's entry at school, due to

economicreasons,lettingthemwithmorefreetimeandthenmoretimetospendonsmart devices,consequently,theaddictionrateishigheronchildrenfromfamilieswithlessincome. Youngerparentstendtofollowthetechnologytendenciesandaremorepermissiveonthe matteroflettingchildrenusethesmartdevices,alsowhenbothparentshaveincomeschildren aremoreexposedduetothelackoftimeoftheirparents,causingahigherrateofaddiction

(PARK,C.&PARK,Y.,2015).

Regardingthechildvariables,itwasnotedthatageandgenderinfluencetherateof addiction,theyoungerthechildthehighertheprobabilityofaddictionduetoincomplete mentaldevelopmentandalsoboystendtobemoreeasilyaddictedduetolackofself­control andbeingmoreeasilydistracted,moreoverchildrenthatgotokindergartenorpreschoolhave a lesser probabilitytobecomeaddictedduetotheamountoftimetheyspendonschool

activities(PARK,C.&PARK,Y.,2015).

The conceptual model (Figure 30) presented by Park, C.&Park,Y.(2014)also contains some of the consequences of smartphone addiction, children with this kind of addiction can demonstrate symptoms of depression, emotional instability, anger, lack of attentionandself­control,alsocandevelopvisualimpairmentduetoexposuretothelightof the screens, hearing impairment if earphones are constantly in use, canstarttodevelop obesityanddiabetesduetothelackofoutdoorsactivities. AnotherstudymadeinPortugaltriedtocreateaconnectionbetweeninternetaddiction

andlonelinessamongchildrenandteenagers.Thestudycomprisedmorethan130Portuguese

studentsbetweenchildrenandteenagers,althoughmanypeoplemaythinkthatlonelinessisa consequenceofinternetorsmartdevicesaddiction,studieshaveshownthatitisanantecedent

(PONTES,H.,GRIFFITHS,M.,PATRÃO,I.,2014).

Figure30: Conceptualmodelofsmartphoneaddictioninearlychildhood. Source: PARK&PARK,2014.

Figure30:Conceptualmodelofsmartphoneaddictioninearlychildhood.

Source:PARK&PARK,2014.

Apartfromcollectingsocio­demographicdata,thisstudyappliedtwotests,oneto identifythelevelofinternetaddictionandanothertoidentifylonelinessofparticipants,the dataanalysisfoundthataconsiderablyhighamountofpeoplefromthesampleareseverely

addictedtointernet,approximately13%,additionally8.4%ofthestudentswereconsidered

severelylonelywhichwasconsideredasmallpercentage.Animportantfindingisthatthe studentsthatshowedahighleveloflonelinessalsopresentedhighlevelofinternetaddiction, somevariablesofthestudywereidentifiedascorrelatedtointernetaddictionandloneliness such as: weekly usage hours, ownership of a smart device, subjective self­perceived victimisation of bullying or cyberbullying(PONTES,H.,GRIFFITHS,M.,PATRÃO,I.,

2014).

AccordingtoDePaiva,N.&Costa,J.(2015)smartdevicesreallyimpactourlives

withmanypositiveandnegativeaspects,itisimportanttoidentifythesenegativeaspectsand

find ways to diminish the side effects because removing suchdevicesfromourlivesis probably very difficultatthispoint.StillaccordingtoDePaiva&Costa,opinionsfrom parentsinBrazilaboutsmartdevicesusagewerecollectedandtheyconcludedthatmostof the parents are preoccupied about their children not playing outside of the house, and developingphysicalproblemssuchasdiabetesandobesity,butaccordingtothemthemost problematicsituationistheunsupervisedusagethatcangenerateaggressivenessandanxiety duetothelackoflimitsimposedtochildren. This chapter presented a review of recent studies on the problems caused by unsupervisedusageofsmartdevicesandinternetbychildrenandteenagers,lettingchildren interactwithnewtechnologieshaverisksandthisreviewwasmadetoassessthiskindofrisk, andprovidedwaystomitigatetherisks.Thenextchapterwilldrawconclusionsfromthe theoryworked,collecteddataandtheiranalysis.

5.Conclusion

Thisworkhasshownthat,sincetheproductionofthepersonalcomputer,researchers have tried to lower the barriers of programming to childrenbyinventingmoreintuitive programming languagesandplatformswheretheycaninteractanddevelopprogramming

skills.ManyattemptshavebeenmadewithLOGOlanguage,Lego/LOGO,andin2007the

MITLifelongKindergartendevelopedScratch,aplatformwherechildrenareabletobuild multimediapresentationsandgamesusingalanguageinspiredontheconnectionsofLego brickswheretheycoulduseprogrammingblockstobuildalgorithms. To understand how programming is being exposed to children nowadays, it is importanttonotonlyconsidertherecentapproaches,butalso,verifyhowtherecentplatforms were built and where they came from. It was presented an evolution since the Lego programmablebrickandhowtheapproacheswererefinedandrecreatedintonewones,until recently,itwasmadeavailableforyoungchildrenacomplexplatformcalledScratchJrthat empowersteachersandparentsaroundtheworld,enablingthemtointroduceyoungchildren importantconceptslikeprogrammingandanalogyalsostimulatingtheirimagination. A considerable number of different approaches involvingloweringthebarriersto programming,includingprograms,platformsandgames,weredevelopeduntilnowandto

betterunderstandeachapproach,asummarizedversionofthetaxonomycreatedin2005by

Kelleher and Pausch was presented in this work. The work of Kelleher and Pausch

documentedmorethan50approachesandclassifiedthemintocategoriesandsubcategories,

this work alsoincludedsomeinformationaboutsomeapproachesthatwerecreatedafter

2005.

Mostoftheseapproachesarefocusedoncertainagerangesandnormallydemands thatthechildareabletoreadwhichlimitatesthestartingagetosixyearsoldandfollowing the same principle described by Papert in1980thatsincetheLOGOcreation,everyone involvedinteachingprogrammingtochildrenshouldtrytolowerthebarrierstoknowledge. Thisworkaffirmsthatprescholarchildrenareabletostartdevelopingprogrammingsskills andtestedthehypothesisthat"programminggamesenablechildrentodevelopandimprove theirprogrammingskills". Based on popular programming games, such as LightBot, and emerging new approaches,suchasprimo.ioinitiative,agamewaspresentedonthedatacollectionphaseof

anexperimentthatinvolved10childrenwithaspecificprofile.Whenrunningthepilot,major

flawswereidentifiedinthegame,changesweremadeandanewversionwasusedonthe

other9testswherechildrenweregroupedbytheagesof4,5and6(3childrenineachgroup).

Thegameconsistedinatabletapplicationwheretheusercanbuildanalgorithmbyselecting asetoforderedcommandstobesenttoasphericalrobot,thecommandsarebasicallyto moveforward,turnright,andleft.ThreelevelswerebuiltwithEVAmaterialtoserveas challenges,andwhiletheuserfaceseachlevel,theapplicationcollectsdatatobeanalyzed, eachattemptfromeachlevelcorrespondstoascore,andallthesesattemptswererecordedfor thedataanalysisphase. Alloftheinvolvedchildrendemonstratedinterestonthegame,andcompletedatleast thefirstlevel,whichsuggeststhatpreschoolersareabletostartdevelopingprogramming skills and the hypothesis was considered true. Furthermore, the main objective was to understandifprescholarscoulddeveloplogicalproblemsolvingskills,andwasindirectly

reached.The9experimentsconfirmedthehypothesisclarifiesthatyoungchildrenwith4,5

and 6 years old were able to develop algorithms while playing thegame,aspresented, programminghelpstodevelopproblemsolvingskills,whichleadsustothinkthatchildren candeveloporimprovethisskillbyplayingthisgamecategory. Althoughthisworkadvocatesthatchildrenmustbeincontactwithtechnology,and believesthatthenextgenerationwillbeabletobemoreproductive,childrendevelopment willbeaugmentedbylettingthempracticeprogramming,itisimportanttounderstandthe risks,andthisworkpresentedsomeofthehazardsofunsupervisedexposuretosmartphones, tabletsandinternet.Peopleingeneral,canbeaddictedtosmartdevices,anddevelopaseries ofpsychologicalandphysicalproblems,andthisriskishigheronyoungchildren.Moreover, itwaspresentedwaystomitigatethedangers,enablingparentsandteacherstointroduce childrentoprogrammingandtherelatedtechnologyinaproperwayavoidingsuchproblems. The next section, statespossibleevolutionsofthiswork,howthegamecouldbe improved,andhowotherstudiescanextendthiswork,andpresentsreasonstocontinuethe workwithintroducingprogrammingtoyoungchildren.

5.1Futurework

Thisworkstatedthatpreschoolersareabletodevelopalgorithms,andtesteditwith9

childrenfrom3differentagesstartingfrom4yearsoldinthesamecityinBrazil,apossible

extent for it would be to rerun the test consideringmorechildren,fromdifferentcities, possiblyfromdifferentcountries,tomakeitmorestatisticallyrelevant.Furthermore,adeeper understandingofhowchildreninteractwithprogrammingcouldbeachievedbycollecting sociodemographicdata,theperformancecouldbecomparedbyothervariablesthanjustage, forexample,gendercouldaffecttheresultsinsomewaythatonlyconsideringthisvariable whileanalysingthedatawouldbepossibletodetermine. Another interesting possibleextentoftheresearchwouldbetotestevenyounger

children,andverifyif3yearsoldchildrenarealsoabletodevelopalgorithms,andstart

developing such skill. It is also important toverifyifthegamecreatedisinterestingto

childrenolderthan6yearsold,ifso,itcanbeusedtointroducethemtoprogramming,and

then,introducethemtoamorecomplexenvironmentlikeScratch,forexample,moreover, testswithtwogroupscanbemadetounderstandifchildrenthatplayedthegamecanbemore productiveonsuchenvironment. Consideringthat,thegamepresentedonthisworkcanbeimprovedtoincludeother programming concepts, such as procedure calls and recursion, another version of the applicationcouldbedevelopedtoincludemoreboxeswithtrailstobeusedasprocedures beingcalledotherboxes,orthesameboxtocreatearecursion.Enablingprocedurecallsand recursionincreasesthecomplexityofthelevelsthatcouldbebuiltforthegameandwould better prepare the childrenforhigherchallengeslikeroboticsclasses,orScratchclasses, Figure 31 represents a prototype of a possible version of the application including this features.

Figure31: Newinterfaceprototypeforthetabletapplication.

Figure31:Newinterfaceprototypeforthetabletapplication.

Apossibilitythatcouldalsoincreasethecomplexityofthedesignedlevelswouldbe touseonefeatureavailableonSphero'sdevelopmentkit,thatistochangeitscolor,obstacles consideringcolorchangecouldbeplacedonnewlevelstobecomemorechallenging,future workcouldcomparequalitativelythedifferencebetweenversionsofthegametoidentifyif children are more interested on amorecomplexgame,andmorefeaturesincreasingthe difficultyofthegamecouldhelptodevelopprogrammingskillsevenmoreanditcouldbe furtherinvestigatedinfuturestudies.

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