Pair- versus solo-programming of mini-games as a setting for learning to program: An Action Research approach

Pair- versus solo-programming of mini-games as a setting for learning to program: An Action Research approach

Abstract

This Research to Practice Full Paper depicts and evaluates a secondary school project on using pair- and solo-programming of mini-games in introductory programming classes. In addition to investigating various factors influencing students’ problem-solving skills (K9; age 14–15), we introduce the software metric Lines Of Code (LOC) to compare outcomes on that specific measure in the pair- and solo- programming setting. The mini-games were developed with the free personal edition of the game development engine Unity™ and C#. In the current study, four different classes at the secondary level were instructed and researched. All classes had approximately the same number of students, the same tasks, the same tutorials, but were using a different social setting for programming. In response to the worldwide pandemic in the years 2020 and 2021, instruction and research proceeded either in virtual or in hybrid-learning mode. We chose participatory action research to accommodate for the complexity of factors inherent in the field as well as for its iterative, cyclic nature. The current cycle is the third of a series on studies that have investigated various aspects of introductory pair-programming. The evaluation phase employs a digital questionnaire with open and closed questions aimed to capture student’s perceptions regarding problem solving. In addition, the software metric Lines Of Code” (LOC), traditionally used to measure the size of a computer program by counting the number of lines of the program's source code, was adapted to measure students’ achievement in pair- and solo-programming. With our research we aim to contribute to make learning to program more effective, engaging, and inclusive, and we would like to promote 21st century competences besides programming skills. In addition, we are eager to share our practice of pair-programming with educators in order to inspire them to experiment with pair-programming as a social setting with high potential, even in times of required social distancing.

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Authors
  • Issaee, Arash
  • Motschnig, Renate
  • Comber, Oswald
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Shortfacts
Category
Paper in Conference Proceedings or in Workshop Proceedings (Paper)
Event Title
IEEE Frontiers in Education 2021
Divisions
Computer Science Didactics and Learning Research Center
Subjects
Programmiermethodik
Programmiersprachen
Angewandte Informatik
Event Location
Lincoln, Nebrasca, USA
Event Type
Conference
Event Dates
13 - 16Oct. 2021
Date
14 October 2021
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