INCORPORATING PROGRAMMING LITERACY IN THE CURRICULUM OF GRADES 5, 6, & 7

A. Hammoud, A. Shatila, N. Adada

Global University (LEBANON)
Schools in general are not giving «Programming literacy» its proper weight in the curriculum. Reasons for that may vary but they all go under the umbrella of excuses not to go through the hassle of introducing something new into the curriculum. A well-planned programming curriculum could be one of the ways we can introduce «Programming literacy» to elementary and middle school curricula. The researchers’ main aim was to prove that children ages 10 and above can learn programing efficiently. The researchers gave a 4-week programming summer course to 60 children in grades 5, 6 and 7. The students were given 48 sessions of training, including assessments, in three different programming technologies, namely, HTML, SQL, and JavaScript to produce web and mobile applications that run on Android devices. Training material was obtained from a newly released book on the market “Mobile Apps Programming Made Easy”, written in Arabic by the researchers to support programming literacy. Three computer labs were used for two shifts (9:00 am – 12:00 pm and 12:00 pm – 3:00 pm). The children were divided into 2 groups of 10 for each grade level. The two groups of each grade level were trained by two different instructors, one with an education background (who attended a 3-week training course on the material) and another with a computer science background. During the program, the students’ progress was assessed 4 times. The researchers’ aim was to check for any correlation between students’ scores in programming and their GPAs as well as students’ scores in programming and their math scores. The researchers wanted to prove that programming is not something only high achievers can learn. Another investigated issue was the difference in performance between teachers who came from an education background and those who came from a computer science background. The researchers wanted to see if current teachers with no computer science background, given the proper training, can teach programming to their students, which means no revolutionary change is required to implement programming literacy.