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An Investigation into Parent-Child Collaboration in Learning Computer Programming


Journal of Educational Technology & Society Volume 15, Number 1, ISSN 1176-3647 e-ISSN 1176-3647


A multi-case study approach was used in this study to investigate how parents and children collaborated with each other when they learned to program in MSWLogo together. Three parent-child pairs were observed directly in a five-day computer camp. Each pair was assigned a total of 33 programming tasks to work on. The observation focused on how parents interacted with their children while they tried to solve the tasks together. Findings from this study indicated that, despite different patterns of interactions exhibited in the three pairs, parent-child collaboration in programming naturally fell into a special form of "pair programming" in which the parent and the child in each pair took the roles of "the reviewer" and "the driver" respectively. As such, children wrote programs in a more systematic and disciplined manner instead of resorting to trial-and-error and tinkering; children spent more time on analysis and design which were considered essential to successful problem solving; the programs they produced were more compact, well-structured, and contained fewer errors. Moreover, children tended to reflect on their solutions more often than if they learned alone. The interviews conducted after the camp revealed that the participating parents and children alike found great pleasure in learning to program collaboratively. In addition, the parents felt that the collaboration enabled them to gain a better understanding of their children and develop a closer parent-child relationship. (Contains 5 tables and 1 figure.)


Lin, J.M.C. & Liu, S.F. (2012). An Investigation into Parent-Child Collaboration in Learning Computer Programming. Journal of Educational Technology & Society, 15(1), 162-173. Retrieved January 19, 2020 from .

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