Fifteen years of introductory programming in schools: a global overview of K-12 initiatives

Claudia Szabo, Judy Sheard, Andrew Luxton-Reilly, Simon, Brett A. Becker, Linda Ott

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference PaperResearchpeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Computing education and outreach in the K - 12 school sector have shown significant growth over recent decades, resulting in a large body of literature focused on the teaching and learning of computing. Despite this extensive literature, we are not aware of global overviews on teaching and learning programming as opposed to computing or computational thinking in K - 12. We conducted a systematic review of the literature on introductory programming from 2003 to 2017. In this paper we review the papers that were set in the K - 12 context with the aim of exploring developments that have been made in teaching introductory K - 12 programming during this period. These include new programming languages, tools, teaching methods, and outreach programs. The impetus for these innovations was often a desire to provide interesting and engaging learning experiences and to ensure an appropriate level of instruction for a particular age group. Many initiatives were driven by changes to national curricula to mandate the teaching of programming. We find that there is a need for long-term studies to identify the most effective pedagogical approaches. We also identify a major need faced by many countries for training and resources to support teachers through the curriculum changes.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings, 19th Koli Calling Conference on Computing Education Research, Koli Calling 2019
EditorsPetri Ihantola, Nick Falkner
Place of PublicationNew York NY USA
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery (ACM)
Number of pages9
ISBN (Electronic)9781450377157, 97814503771519, 97814503771511
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2019
EventBaltic Sea Conference on Computing Education Research 2019 - Koli, Finland
Duration: 21 Nov 201924 Nov 2019
Conference number: 19th (Proceedings) (Website)


ConferenceBaltic Sea Conference on Computing Education Research 2019
Abbreviated titleKoli Calling 2019
Internet address


  • Introductory programming
  • K - 12
  • K12
  • Novice programming
  • Review
  • School
  • Systematic literature review

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