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Using Scratch to Support Programming Fundamentals

  • Muñoz, Roberto
  • Barcelos, T. S.
  • Villarroel, R.
  • Silveira, I.
INTRODUCTION: Courses related to the Programming Fundamentals usually have high failure rates. Several initiatives have emerged to address this issue. Among these activities, digital game programming stands out as a promising alternative considering that it is related to a context which is familiar and motivating to students. OBJECTIVE: To design and implement a game design workshop aimed at supporting a Programming Fundamentals discipline. METHOD: The workshop was composed of 12 sessions, and the Scratch programming environment was used. Activities were inspired by Problem-Based Learning and constructionist principles. The code of 24 final projects was analyzed by using a previously defined metric, and retention rates were compared to the level of attendance to the workshop sessions. RESULTS: The results obtained show that students who had high attendance to the workshop also presented high approval rates in the discipline. Additionally, the codes analyzed indicated the development of skills related to Computational Thinking at a high level. CONCLUSIONS: The use of this didactic strategy complemented with the use of Scratch facilitated the development of competencies necessary for programming and also motivated first-year students.
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