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Learning to programme through mobile game development in Stencyl

Jure Kirn and Klemen Šorak (2022) Learning to programme through mobile game development in Stencyl. MSc thesis.

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    Abstract

    Introductory programming as part of the compulsory curriculum is important for every student. In this way, students should acquire both knowledge of computer science and more advanced or transferable knowledge and skills, such as creativity, accuracy, logical thinking, problem solving, time control, self-control, perseverance in solving problems from beginning to end. Primary computer science teachers often face the dilemma of how to continue teaching programming after students have mastered the basics of particle programming, which usually takes place in a Scratch programming environment. Another option is to teach programming in environments that enable mobile application development, such as AppInventor or Stencyl. The aim of the master's thesis is to present a model of teaching programming that will allow students to acquire and deepen knowledge of basic concepts and skills in programming by creating an application for mobile devices in the software environment Stencyl. Since computer topics are missing in the Slovenian primary school curriculum, there is a need to create learning environments that allow flexible teaching. One possibility is to organize a summer school. To this end, we designed a 20-hour workshop in the form of a free summer school for students aged 10 to 15 from a selected primary school. Half of the students with prior knowledge of programming and half without prior knowledge were included. Due to the Covid 19 pandemic and associated constraints, learning took place live on three days and online in the Teams video conferencing environment on two days. Students learned the user interface and the basics of using the Stencyl software environment live and expanded and deepened their knowledge while working online under the guidance of instructors. Since it was a combination of learning, we supported the learning process with additional materials and activities in the online Moodle classroom. In the theoretical part of the master thesis we presented the theoretical foundations on which the workshop is based. We have defined in more detail the learning approach of the workshop, which is based on project-based learning. The goal of the workshop is to develop computational thinking. Students develop it with activities that are typical of computer science. Therefore, we have provided an overview of the inclusion of computer science content in the compulsory and elective parts of the Slovenian primary school curriculum, with an emphasis on programming. We examined the placement of computer science topics in the curriculum in other countries in Europe and the world. We presented the basic concepts of the CS K-12 Framework for Computing Education, which provides detailed conceptual guidelines for teaching computing from kindergarten to the end of high school. The workshop participants were familiarised with the concepts proposed in the aforementioned framework. In the empirical part, we focused on analysing the factors that influenced students' knowledge. We were interested in the influence of prior knowledge on students' performance in the final project (maze video game). Prior knowledge of basic programming concepts was assessed with a pretest, while acquired knowledge was examined with a test and assessment of the final project. Learning outcomes were significantly influenced by the transition of the educational process from live to online learning. We were also interested in the percentage of students who will continue with online learning. We were also interested in the percentage of students who were able to create a final project that worked well with the help of an instructor. Projects were assessed using the final project assessment criteria and unstructured observation. We analyzed the program code that students used in creating their own projects and found that the concepts most often included a sequence of commands, conditional sentences, loops, and, rarely, counters. We found that all students continued to work remotely and that most students successfully completed their projects. The conclusion of the master thesis is that the creation of a game in the software environment Stencyl, after reviewing the literature? and in accordance with the described research, is an appropriate challenge for students of the 2nd and 3rd educational period and motivates them to program. For this reason, and due to the wide range of functionalities, we believe that Stencyl is a suitable environment to continue programming after Scratch. The master thesis will serve teachers as additional material in teaching introductory programming, and the online classroom will help students to create and improve simpler applications and programs so that they can develop their computer science knowledge and skills.

    Item Type: Thesis (MSc thesis)
    Keywords: programming, Stencyl, summer school, blended learning, online classroom, tutorial
    Number of Pages: 152
    Language of Content: Slovenian
    Mentor / Comentors:
    Mentor / ComentorsIDFunction
    doc. dr. Irena Nančovska ŠerbecMentor
    Link to COBISS: https://plus.si.cobiss.net/opac7/bib/peflj/104593411
    Institution: University of Ljubljana
    Department: Faculty of Education
    Item ID: 7156
    Date Deposited: 12 Apr 2022 12:30
    Last Modified: 12 Apr 2022 12:30
    URI: http://pefprints.pef.uni-lj.si/id/eprint/7156

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