The Example Guru: Suggesting Examples to Novice Blocks Programmers in an Artifact-Based Context Increases Use of New Blocks
Children often begin to learn programming in blocks programming environments independently or with little support, due to lack of computer science education in classrooms, inexperienced teachers, or because they choose to explore on their own. These children often begin learning through the creation of artifacts, like phone applications, games, or animations, where they can select their own goals. In order to create these artifacts, novices primarily rely on the resources available alongside blocks programming environments, such as tutorials, documentation, forums, or shared programs. Yet, many novices may not know what to search for to learn new skills. This poster presents the Example Guru, a context-sensitive suggestion system for the Looking Glass blocks programming environment. The Example Guru suggests new code blocks based on what the programmer may not know about. It aims to motivate children to use the suggestions by presenting them as ways to improve the artifact, rather than just to learn something new. Three studies compared the Example Guru suggestions to other in-context support for programming and show that children access and use suggestions more than static content.