Paper Dolls in Cyberspace: Visual Hacking and Representation in the Teaching of Computer Programming
Carlin, Tracy Anne
Despite the importance of coding in an increasingly computer-dependent age, the Higher Education Research Institute found from 2000 to 2005 that the number of college freshmen listing computer science as their probable major dropped by 70% in the US. Meanwhile, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicted in 2005 that 65% of job openings from 2004 to 2014 in science and engineering will be in information technology. Can the teaching of computer languages be improved? This thesis will explore two underused tools in the computer science classroom: digital representations, or avatars, and hacking, or the creative reworking and remixing of code. It examines how six adult graduate students approach hacking the same program, adding details and new forms of interactivity to reflect their own interests and passions. It also explains how the misunderstood concept of hacking code could work as a useful educational tool for an active learning environment, in the style of Seymour Papert's Logo learning language.
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