Cats in Space, Pigs that Race: Does Self-Regulation Play a Role When Kindergartners Learn to Code?.
Abstract: This dissertation examined the bidirectional relationship between
self-regulation and learning to code in two kindergarten classrooms utilizing ScratchJr, a
developmentally appropriate programming language software tool for children ages five to
seven. This pilot study included 38 students, all of who participated in an eight-lesson
ScratchJr curriculum. The program measured students' ... read moreskills and success in three ways:
Programming Score, Goal Completion Score, and Time on Task Score. The coding skill
variables were compared to the participants' initial level of self-regulation as measured
by the Head-Toes-Knees- Shoulders (HTKS) assessment. Results indicated that overall
children in this study attempted and understood ScratchJr programming blocks and interface
elements, regardless of initial self-regulation level (M = 2.95, SD = .79; N = 35, r(33) =
.14, p < .41, 95% CI = [-.20, 46]. However, there were some differences in Goal
Completion Score compared to initial level of self-regulation. There was a moderate
correlation when comparing the average Goal Completion Score to initial level of
self-regulation as measured by the HTKS pre-test (n = 34, r(32) = .36, p = .03, 95% CI
[.03, .63]). This study also examined whether learning to code could impact self-regulation
skills. In order to examine this question, one classroom participated in eight lessons of
ScratchJr (n = 20), and a second classroom participated in sixteen lessons (n = 18). Both
groups were pre-tested and post-tested on self-regulation skills before and after
completion of the ScratchJr curriculum. Results indicated there might be a relationship
between longer exposure to practicing coding in ScratchJr and an increase in
self-regulation, as the 16-lesson group had an average self-regulation score increase of
23.0% versus the 8-lesson group whose self-regulation scores increased by 4.9%. However, as
these results were not significant (F(1, 33) = 2.23, p = .14, n2partial = .06, 95% CI
[-1.2, 8.0]), they should be interpreted with caution. Limitations of the current study,
future directions for the study of programming languages, understanding how children learn
to code, and implications for curriculum development were addressed.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--Tufts University, 2014.
Submitted to the Dept. of Child Development.
Advisor: Marina Bers.
Committee: Richard Lerner, Megan McClelland, and Karen Brennan.
Keywords: Developmental psychology, and Educational technology.read less
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