ERIC Number: ED398886
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1996
Why Teach Computer Programming? Some Evidence about Generalization and Transfer.
The assertion that "higher order" thinking skills can be improved by learning to program computers is not a new one. The idea endures even though the empirical evidence over the years has been mixed at best. In fact, there is no reason to expect that all programming courses will have identical, or even similar, effects. Such courses typically differ more by the languages in which they are taught than by anything else, and rarely do they explicitly address higher level instructional goals. To properly assess the extent of transfer, or any other learning, empirical measures must be criterion-referenced to specific curriculum objectives. This paper describes the results from three field studies. In two of them, ninth graders who learned structured programming methods using the"Karel the Robot" teaching language performed considerably better on a series of expository writing tasks than did students in the studies' control groups. In the third study, students who began their introductory programming methods course with Karel performed substantially better on difficult structured programming tasks using Pascal. (Author/SWC)
Descriptors: Academic Achievement, Authoring Aids (Programming), Computer Software, Computers, Educational Objectives, Generalization, Grade 9, Instructional Effectiveness, Learning Processes, Programming, Programming Languages, Secondary Education, Skill Development, Thinking Skills, Transfer of Training
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: National Science Foundation, Arlington, VA.
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: In: Call of the North, NECC '96. Proceedings of the Annual National Educational Computing Conference (17th, Minneapolis, Minnesota, June 11-13, 1996); see IR 018 057.