UCAM Universidad Católica de Murcia (SPAIN)
About this paper:
Appears in: INTED2020 Proceedings
Publication year: 2020
Pages: 4329-4334
ISBN: 978-84-09-17939-8
ISSN: 2340-1079
doi: 10.21125/inted.2020.1200
Conference name: 14th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 2-4 March, 2020
Location: Valencia, Spain
Writing source code at school is considered beneficial for children and the whole society. From a psychological point of view, learning to code stimulates abstract thinking and creative approaches to problem solving. For society, it is also beneficial to find talent in this type of intellectual tasks because children are potential computer scientists that can boost discoveries or progresses in the field. In the last decade primary and secondary educational institutions are trying to implement interventions programs to promote coding among children. Here we highlight some positive consequences of encouraging educational institutions to include coding competences in their curricula. We think that learning to code allows students to acknowledge computers scientists their work. At the same time, children also learn to think and reflect about technology in “essential” terms. That is to say, by learning to write pieces of software children also learn the universal message presented in “The Little Prince” that the essence of reality is not seen by the eye. As a result, we will provide some ideas and reflections about the early introduction of coding at school. Thus, our main objective is to develop a list of guidelines to help children to go into programming. The methodology we have used to develop such a list is literature review. We have reviewed key references on adult programming best practices to develop our guidelines for children. Our results, based on literature review and several formal discussions, can be synthetically summed up into three core guidelines: a) learning about master scripts and how to use them, b) dividing complex problems into small and simpler computational tasks, each of them should be written in a single script, and c) illustrating the notion of “function” and “function arguments”. These three guidelines are quite general and we are aware that different language programs work differently. As a result, those guidelines are not probably widely applicable. However, our intention is to provide a first taste of coding for children. In order to facilitate the practical implementation of those guidelines, we suggest using examples with open and free languages like R or LaTeX at school.
Coding, software development, R, LaTeX, abstract thinking.