Unravelling the cognition of coding in 3-to-6-year olds

the development of an assessment tool and the relation between coding ability and cognitive compiling of syntax in natural language

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference proceeding contribution

6 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

There is growing interest in teaching children computer programming ("coding") to prepare them for the demands of our increasingly digital society. However, we do not yet understand what cognitive skills children need in order to learn to code. The aim of our research program is to identify the requisite skills, with the goal of building a cognitive model of coding. The present research used a wooden robot ("Cubetto", www.primotoys.com) to investigate coding ability in young children. Exp. 1 describes the development and evaluation of the assessment instrument, which was tested with 18 3-to-5-year-old children. The instrument ("Coding Development (CODE) Test 3-6") was used in Exp. 2 to investigate the relationship between coding skill and "cognitive compiling" - the ability to formulate mental action plans in natural language. Thirty 5-to-6-year-olds participated in Exp. 2. Using Bayesian statistics, we found evidence that cognitive compiling predicts coding performance above and beyond age and nonverbal intelligence. We evaluate the outcomes and reflect on whether cognitive compiling depends solely on maturation or might be a skill that can be trained, and if so, how this could be done.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationICER 2018
Subtitle of host publicationProceedings of the 2018 ACM Conference on International Computing Education Research
Place of PublicationNew York, NY
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery, Inc
Pages133-141
Number of pages9
ISBN (Print)9781450356282
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2018
Event14th Annual International Computing Education Research Conference, ICER 2018 - Espoo, Finland
Duration: 13 Aug 201815 Aug 2018

Conference

Conference14th Annual International Computing Education Research Conference, ICER 2018
CountryFinland
CityEspoo
Period13/08/1815/08/18

Keywords

  • assessment
  • programming
  • coding
  • natural language ability
  • cognitive compiling
  • nonverbal intelligence
  • children
  • preschool
  • kindergarten

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    Marinus, E., Powell, Z., Thornton, R., McArthur, G., & Crain, S. (2018). Unravelling the cognition of coding in 3-to-6-year olds: the development of an assessment tool and the relation between coding ability and cognitive compiling of syntax in natural language. In ICER 2018: Proceedings of the 2018 ACM Conference on International Computing Education Research (pp. 133-141). New York, NY: Association for Computing Machinery, Inc. https://doi.org/10.1145/3230977.3230984