‘‘I want my robot to look for food’’: Comparing Kindergartner’s programming comprehension using tangible, graphic, and hybrid user interfaces

Inrecentyears,educationalroboticshasbecomeanincreasinglypopular research area. However, limited studies have focused on differentiated learning outcomes basedontypeofprogramming interface.Thisstudyaimstoexplorehowsuccessfully youngchildrenmaster foundational programmingconceptsbasedonthe  roboticsuser interface (tangible, graphical, hybrid) taught in their curriculum. Thirty-five Kindergarten studentsparticipatedina9-weekroboticscurriculumusingtheLEGOWeDorobotics construction kit and the Creative Hybrid Environment for Robotic Programming (CHERP) programminglanguage.Amixedmethodsdatacollectionapproachwas employed, including qualitative observational data from the classrooms, as well as quantitative mid-and post-test assessments of students’ programming knowledge using CHERP. The findingsshowlittle associationbetweenuserinterfaceandprogrammingcomprehension, although there may be an order-affect when introducing user interfaces. Implications for best practices when introducing programming in early childhood settings are discussed.

Strawhacker, A. L., & Bers, M. U. (2015). "I want my robot to look for food": Comparing children's programming comprehension using tangible, graphical, and hybrid user interfaces. International Journal of Technology and Design Education, 25(3). 293-319.