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Impact of Programming on Primary Mathematics Learning


kid with paper and pencil, illustration

A negative though small effect of programming on mathematics learning was found.

Credit: Getty Images

A study investigating whether a programming activity might serve as a learning vehicle for mathematics acquisition in grades four and five indicates negative effects of the programming condition for three mathematical notions. Compared to traditional activities, programming did not benefit mathematics learning.

The effects of a programming activity, an essential component of computational thinking, were evaluated on learning outcomes of three mathematical notions: Euclidean division, additive decomposition, and fractions. Multilevel analyses indicate negative effects. A potential explanation is the difficulties in the transfer of learning from programming to mathematics.

The study also says that visual programming languages might distract students from mathematics activities.

From Learning and Instruction
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