Semiotic Traces of Computational Thinking Acquisition
Computational thinking involves many different abilities, including being able to represent real and imaginary worlds in highly constrained computer languages. These typically support very selective kinds of perspectives, abstractions and articulation compared to the unlimited possibilities provided by natural languages. This paper reports findings from a qualitative empirical study with novice programmers, carried out with AgentSheets in a Brazilian public school. The driving research question was: How do meanings expressed in natural language narratives relate to computational constructs expressed in programs produced by novices? We used semiotic and linguistic analysis to compare meaning representations in natural and artificial texts (game descriptions in Brazilian Portuguese and Visual AgenTalk code). We looked for recurring relations and what they might mean in the context of computational thinking education. Our findings suggest that the semiotic richness of AgentSheets can be explored to introduce different aspects of computational thinking in principled and theoretically-informed ways.
KeywordsComputational thinking education End user programming languages Semiotic analysis Discourse analysis AgentSheets
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