School Pupils’ Attitudes to Programming: ‘What’s That?’

Judy Robertson

Here's something to make fellow CS educators wince.

On our Making Games in Schools project , which aims to improve CS provision in Scottish schools through teacher training, we have a pre-test questionnaire to measure pupils' attitudes to computer science. There are questions relating to their attitudes to computer programming. It turns out that one of the first year (12 year olds) computing classes involved in the project had trouble with these questions because the pupils don't know what computer programming is! The word "doomed" springs to mind…

What on earth have they been doing in computing classes to this point if they don't know what programming is? Sadly, from recent experiences of our university student ambassadors in local schools,  it would seem that computing classes can involve activities which mostly seem to be about using software, such as movie making or word processing. Not about designing or implementing new software, no sir. We have a long way to go.

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