We have evaluated the difference between using Python (this could be seen as 
the tool) and java to teach programming to beginners. Such evaluation is based 
on the analysis of student assessments. The aim of the comparison is to 
quantitatively measure a student’s ability to master basic programming concepts 
when Python is used instead of object-oriented Java. Both assessments consisted 
of students having to implement a program. For further details, the paper can 
be accessed below:

http://www.ics.heacademy.ac.uk/italics/vol10iss1.htm
or
http://www.ics.heacademy.ac.uk/italics/download.php?file=italics/vol10iss1/pdfs/paper10.pdf

I hope this helps.

Regards,

Stasha

________________________________________
From: Stefano Federici [sfeder...@unica.it]
Sent: 01 March 2011 14:29
To: PPIG Listserve
Cc: Stefano Federici
Subject: Re: evalutation of new tools to teach computer programming

Thanks a lot Thomas and John for your suggestions.

To better clarify my settings, I have two new tools (aiming at
teaching two different topics: general programming the first, sorting
algorithms the second) that I want to compare against NOT using the
tools.

Do you have any references to similar evalutations?

Stefano


Citando John Daughtry <j...@daughtryhome.com>:

> I would suggest taking a more holistic view of the design space. Rather than
> asking which tool is best, you may be better served by seeking to
> empirically describe and explain the underlying trade-offs. In what ways do
> option1 help, hinder, and undermine learning? In what ways do option2 help,
> hinder, and undermine learning? In all likelihood there are answers to all
> six questions.
>
> John
> --------------------------------------------------
> Associate Research Engineer
> The Applied Research Laboratory
> Penn State University
> daugh...@psu.edu
>
>
>
> On Tue, Mar 1, 2011 at 7:08 AM, Thomas Green <green...@ntlworld.com> wrote:
>
>> Depending on your aims, you might want to measure transfer to other
>> problems: that is,  do participants who used tool A for the sorting task,
>> then do better when tackling  a new problem, possibly with a different tool,
>> than participants who used tool B?
>>
>> You might also want to look at memory and savings: how do the participants
>> manage two months later? Occasionally cognitive tasks like yours show no
>> effect at the time but produce measurable differences when the same people
>> do the same tasks later.
>>
>> Pretty hard to create a truly fair test, but things to think about are
>> controlling for practice and order effects, which should be easy, and
>> controlling for experimenter expectation effects. The hardest thing to
>> balance for is sometimes the training period: people using a new tool have
>> to learn about it, and that gives them practice effects that the controls
>> might not get. Sometimes people create a dummy task for the control
>> condition to avoid that problem; or you can compare different versions of
>> the tools, with differing features.
>>
>> I suggest you try to avoid the simple A vs B design and instead look for a
>> design when you can predict a trend: find A, B, C such that your theory says
>> A > B > C. The statistical power is much better.
>>
>> Don't forget to talk to the people afterwards and get their opinions.
>> Sometimes you can find they weren't playing the same game that you were.
>>
>> Good luck
>>
>> Thomas Green
>>
>>
>>
>>
>> On 1 Mar 2011, at 11:20, Stefano Federici wrote:
>>
>>  Dear Collegues,
>>> I need to plan an evaluation of the improvements brought by the usage of
>>> specific software tools when learning the basic concepts of computer
>>> programming (sequence, loop, variables, arrays, etc) and the specific topic
>>> of sorting algorithms.
>>>
>>> Which are the best practises for the necessary steps? I guess the steps
>>> should be: selection of test group, test of initial skills,
>>> partition of the
>>> test group in smaller homogenous groups, delivery of learning materials by
>>> or by not making use of the tools, test of final skills, comparative
>>> analysis.
>>>
>>> What am I supposed to do to perform a fair test?
>>>
>>> Any help or reference is welcome.
>>>
>>> Best Regards
>>>


Stefano Federici
-------------------------------------------------
Università degli Studi di Cagliari
Facoltà di Scienze della Formazione
Dipartimento di Scienze Pedagogiche e Filosofiche
Via Is Mirrionis 1, 09123 Cagliari, Italia
-------------------------------------------------
Cell: +39 349 818 1955 Tel.: +39 070 675 7815
Fax: +39 070 675 7113



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