Texas Tech University, Department of Computer Science
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Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) Past Participation Stephanie Graham

Stephanie Graham

Title

Using Graphical Programming and Robotics to Educate Students in the Principles of Computer Science

Abstract

There have been many proposed programs and alternatives to increase the retention rates in computer science, including many that opt to use a 3D graphical programming application. These environments simplify the tediousness of coding and give students a chance to learn the principles of computer science without the strict syntax of many other languages and environments. Other programs have also incorporated robots into their teaching method in order to give a visual representation of what is occurring in the code. This project has modified the original Alice program developed by Carnegie Mellon University into a tailor-fit application to be used with Scribbler robots. This research program has combined the two ideaologies of robots and graphical programs into a well-balanced teaching tool by revising and updating the curriculum used to teach students. While the development of the modified Alice (from now on called Dorothy) is important, it is also needed that teachers are properly prepared to use and apply the tool effectively. Together with the Scribbler robots, the curriculum developed covers the core principles of computer science for middle school and high school students. By teaching them before they go to college and getting their interest, it should be easier to keep students interested and boost enrollment and retention rates for computer science.

Poster

Stephanie Graham - Poster