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The Effects of Providing Starter Projects in Open-Ended Scratch Activities

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Drag-and-drop learning environments like Alice ( and Scratch ( eliminate syntax errors, making them attractive as ways to introduce programming concepts to students. Alice is closely associated with storytelling, Scratch was designed for creating music videos, and both can be used to create games. Having had students create each kind of project, we began to wonder: Do students learn different things creating games compared to music videos or stories? What programming constructs do students actually use (and hence learn well enough to be able to apply)? To answer these questions, we conducted a quantitative analysis of a collection of over 300 different student projects created using these tools. In examining different kinds of projects, we found significant differences in how frequently the students creating those projects used variables, if statements, loops, and dialog constructs.
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Using the Storytelling Alice programming environment to create computer-animated movies inspires middle school girls' interest in learning to program computers.
This paper presents a general statistical methodology for the analysis of multivariate categorical data involving agreement among more than two observers. Since these situations give rise to very large contingency tables in which most of the observed cell frequencies are zero, procedures based on indicator variables of the raw data for individual subjects are used to generate first-order margins and main diagonal sums from the conceptual multidimensional contingency table. From these quantities, estimates are generated to reflect the strength of an internal majority decision on each subject. Moreover, a subset of observers who demonstrate a high level of interobserver agreement can be identified by using pairwise agreement statistics between each observer and the internal majority standard opinion on each subject. These procedures are all illustrated within the context of a clinical diagnosis example involving seven pathologists.
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