Frame-Based Editing: Easing the Transition from Blocks to Text-Based Programming

The Workshop in Primary and Secondary Computing Education (WiPSCE) 2015 was held this week at King’s College London. My colleagues Michael Kölling and Amjad Altadmri presented our paper, entitled “Frame-Based Editing: Easing the Transition from Blocks to Text-Based Programming”. The paper is now available freely online.

The gist of the paper is as follows. Blocks-based programming is usually used to teach programming to younger age groups, but text-based programming is used for older age groups. This creates a necessary transition period inbetween, wherein learners must transition from blocks- to text-based programming, but experience of teachers is showing that this can be a difficult transition. The paper first enumerates all the issues involved in making this transition, and then goes on to discuss how frame-based editing (as now available in the latest Greenfoot release) divides these issues into two smaller sets, and thus may make a suitable stepping stone in the gap between blocks and text — see the diagram below, or the paper for a larger version and all the details. If you’re interested, take a read and/or try the software.

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