ERIC Number: ED250178
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1984
Reference Count: 0
Spider World: A Robot Language for Learning to Program. Assessing the Cognitive Consequences of Computer Environments for Learning (ACCCEL).
Dalbey, John; Linn, Marcia
Spider World is an interactive program designed to help individuals with no previous computer experience to learn the fundamentals of programming. The program emphasizes cognitive tasks which are central to programming and provides significant problem-solving opportunities. In Spider World, the user commands a hypothetical robot (called the "Spider") to create colored patterns on the computer display screen. This study: (1) assessed the effectiveness of Spider World in fostering autonomous learning among students; (2) determined if students acquired the ability to use three Spider World templates ("repeat...until,""define...end," and "if...go to") in a novel situation; and (3) compared the program's impact to two other instructional conditions (using Type Attack software and instruction in BASIC). Findings indicate that using Spider World to introduce programming results in student acquisition of templates which they can apply in related environments; in contrast, students receiving instruction in BASIC appear to have made fewer gains in these skills. In addition, students exhibited their autonomous learning behaviors when given the opportunity to use them in Spider World. (JN)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: National Inst. of Education (ED), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: California Univ., Berkeley. Lawrence Hall of Science.
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (68th, New Orleans, LA, April, 1984).