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  • TOCHI_FlowBoard

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Flowboard: How Seamless, Live, Flow-Based Programming Impacts Learning to Code for Embedded Electronics

Research output: Contribution to Journal/MagazineJournal articlepeer-review

<mark>Journal publication date</mark>28/02/2023
<mark>Journal</mark>ACM Transactions on Computer-Human Interaction
Issue number1
Number of pages36
Pages (from-to)1-36
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Toolkits like the Arduino system have brought embedded programming to STEM education. However, learning embedded programming is still hard, requiring an understanding of coding, electronics, and how both sides interact. To investigate the opportunities of using a different programming paradigm than the imperative approach to learning embedded coding, we developed Flowboard . Students code in a visual iPad editor using flow-based programming , which is conceptually closer to circuit diagrams than imperative code. Two breadboards with I/O pins mirrored on the iPad connect electronics and program graph more seamlessly than existing IDEs. Program changes take effect immediately. This liveness reflects circuit behavior better than edit-compile-run loops. A first study confirmed that students can solve basic embedded programming tasks with Flowboard while highlighting important differences to a typical imperative IDE, Ardublock. A second, in-depth study provided qualitative insights into Flowboard’s impact on students’ conceptual models of electronics and embedded programming and exploring.