Abstract—This paper introduces our work on the development of a novel system for applying MIT’s Scratch to teaching classes of four to eight-years-old students. Scratch is a visual, block-based programming language designed for anybody to create a computer program without the worry of syntax errors by assembling icon-like command blocks. However, four to eight-year-old students have trouble using a computer mouse or keyboard and face difficulties when trying Scratch programming. This research developed a tactile, electronic block system that allows students to manipulate physical objects in a tangible way to conduct their programming tasks. The system consists of a Scratch simulator and physical, electronic blocks embodying the Scratch user interface shapes. We taught programming to the classes of second-grade elementary school students (eight-years-old) using our system. The results are encouraging. Our subjects’ interest in programming improved from 3.23 to 4.0 out of the scale of 5, and fifteen students out of twenty five were able to solve nine questions on sequence, loop, and control structure successfully, which are fundamental concepts of programming.
Index Terms—Scratch programming, tangible block programming, electronic block system, programming education, early elementary students.
Yunju Jo is with Sin-mook Elementary School, Republic of Korea (e-mail: email@example.com).
Seok-Ju Chun is with Seoul National University of Education, Republic of Korea (corresponding author; e-mail:firstname.lastname@example.org).
Jungwoo Ryoo is with Penn State University, United States (e-mail: email@example.com).
Cite: Yunju Jo, Seok-Ju Chun, and Jungwoo Ryoo, "Tactile Scratch Electronic Block System: Expanding Opportunities for Younger Children to Learn Programming," International Journal of Information and Education Technology vol. 11, no. 7, pp. 319-323, 2021.Copyright © 2021 by the authors. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).