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How Kids Code and How We Know: An Exploratory Study on the Scratch Repository

How Kids Code and How We Know: An Exploratory Study on the Scratch Repository How Kids Code and How We Know: An Exploratory Study on the Scratch Repository Efthimia Aivaloglou e.aivaloglou@tudelft.nl Felienne Hermans f.f.j.hermans@tudelft.nl Software Engineering Research Group Delft University of Technology Mekelweg 4, 2628 CD, Delft, the Netherlands ABSTRACT Block-based programming languages like Scratch, Alice and Blockly are becoming increasingly common as introductory languages in programming education. There is substantial research showing that these visual programming environments are suitable for teaching programming concepts. But, what do people do when they use Scratch? In this paper we explore the characteristics of Scratch programs. To this end we have scraped the Scratch public repository and retrieved 250,000 projects. We present an analysis of these projects in three different dimensions. Initially, we look at the types of blocks used and the size of the projects. We then investigate complexity, used abstractions and programming concepts. Finally we detect code smells such as large scripts, dead code and duplicated code blocks. Our results show that 1) most Scratch programs are small, however Scratch programs consisting of over 100 sprites exist, 2) programming abstraction concepts like procedures are not commonly used and 3) Scratch programs do suffer from code smells including large scripts and unmatched broadcast signals. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png

How Kids Code and How We Know: An Exploratory Study on the Scratch Repository

Association for Computing Machinery — Aug 25, 2016

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Datasource
Association for Computing Machinery
Copyright
Copyright © 2016 by ACM Inc.
ISBN
978-1-4503-4449-4
doi
10.1145/2960310.2960325
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

How Kids Code and How We Know: An Exploratory Study on the Scratch Repository Efthimia Aivaloglou e.aivaloglou@tudelft.nl Felienne Hermans f.f.j.hermans@tudelft.nl Software Engineering Research Group Delft University of Technology Mekelweg 4, 2628 CD, Delft, the Netherlands ABSTRACT Block-based programming languages like Scratch, Alice and Blockly are becoming increasingly common as introductory languages in programming education. There is substantial research showing that these visual programming environments are suitable for teaching programming concepts. But, what do people do when they use Scratch? In this paper we explore the characteristics of Scratch programs. To this end we have scraped the Scratch public repository and retrieved 250,000 projects. We present an analysis of these projects in three different dimensions. Initially, we look at the types of blocks used and the size of the projects. We then investigate complexity, used abstractions and programming concepts. Finally we detect code smells such as large scripts, dead code and duplicated code blocks. Our results show that 1) most Scratch programs are small, however Scratch programs consisting of over 100 sprites exist, 2) programming abstraction concepts like procedures are not commonly used and 3) Scratch programs do suffer from code smells including large scripts and unmatched broadcast signals.

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