Hybrid Environments: A Bridge from Blocks to Text

Jeremiah Blanchard, one of our cofounders, presented his research on hybrid programming environments, those both block-based and text-based, at ICER 2017. Recall that we’ve used PencilCode, Scratch, Blockly, etc. with our students lately. Jeremiah also managed projects that extended PencilCode with support for additional programming languages and curriculum.

Blanchard, J. (2017, August). Hybrid Environments: A Bridge from Blocks to Text. In Proceedings of the 2017 ACM Conference on International Computing Education Research (pp. 295-296). ACM.

Hybrid, dual-modality programming environments provide both blocks-based and text-based interfaces for programming. While previous research investigated the transition from visual to textual environments, few studies considered these hybrid environments. The purpose of this dissertation is to explore how hybrid programming environments impact computer science competency, confidence, and interest in computer science among students when moving from blocks-based environments to text-based languages. Exploring these questions will help us understand which hybrid environments are effective, in which contexts they are effective, and if they can improve on current approaches to CS instruction.

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