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Skill Progression Demonstrated by Users in the Scratch Animation Environment

TitleSkill Progression Demonstrated by Users in the Scratch Animation Environment
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2012
AuthorsScaffidi, C., and C. Chambers
JournalInternational Journal of Human-Computer Interaction
Pagination383 - 398
Date Published06/2012

The Scratch environment exemplifies a tool+community approach to teaching elementary programming skills, as it includes a website where users can publish, discuss, and organize animations that are programs. To explore this environment's effectiveness for helping people to develop programming skills, a quantitative analysis of 250 randomly selected users' data, including more than 1,000 of their animations, was performed. Skill based on 4 models that had proven useful in prior empirical studies was measured. Overall, mixed results about the environment's effectiveness were found. Among users who do not drop out, an increasing progression in social skills was found. However, an extremely high drop-out rate was also observed. Moreover, a flat or decreasing level of demonstrated skill was observed on virtually every measure. These results call into question whether simply combining an animation tool and an online community is sufficient for keeping people engaged long enough to learn elementary programming skills.

Short TitleInternational Journal of Human-Computer Interaction