Toward a Debugging Pedagogy: Helping Students Learn to Get Unstuck With Physical Computing Systems
Information and Learning Sciences
Emerald Publishing Limited
NSF, Division of Research on Learning in Formal and Informal Settings (DRL) 2031382
Collaborative Research: Supporting Rural Paraprofessional Educators and their Students with Computer Science Professional Learning and Expansively Framed Curriculum
NSF, Division of Research on Learning in Formal and Informal Settings (DRL)
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
The purpose of this paper is to examine how a middle school science teacher, new to programming, supports students in learning to debug physical computing systems consisting of programmable sensors and data displays.
This case study draws on data collected during an inquiry-oriented instructional unit in which students learn to collect, display, and interpret data from their surrounding environment by wiring and programming a physical computing system. Using interaction analysis, we analyzed video recordings of one teacher’s (Gabrielle) pedagogical moves as she supported students in debugging their systems and drew upon a variety of embodied, material, and social resources.
We present Gabrielle’s debugging interactional grammar, highlighting the pedagogical possibilities for supporting students in systematic ways, providing affective support (e.g., showing them care and encouragement), and positioning herself as a learner with the students. Gabrielle’s practice, and therefore her pedagogy, has the potential to support students in becoming better debuggers on their own in the future.
While much of the prior work on learning to debug focuses on learner actions and possible errors, our case focuses on an educator’s debugging pedagogy centered on the educator debugging with the learner. This case study illustrates the need for educators to exhibit deft facilitation, vulnerability, and orchestration skills to support student development of their own process for and agency in debugging.
Hennessy Elliott, C., Gendreau Chakarov, A., Bush, J.B., Nixon, J. and Recker, M. (2023), "Toward a debugging pedagogy: helping students learn to get unstuck with physical computing systems", Information and Learning Sciences, Vol. 124 No. 1/2, pp. 1-24. https://doi.org/10.1108/ILS-03-2022-0051