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

Brocker, Anke and Schäfer, René and Remy, Christian and Voelker, Simon and Borchers, Jan (2023) Flowboard:How Seamless, Live, Flow-Based Programming Impacts Learning to Code for Embedded Electronics. ACM Transactions on Computer-Human Interaction, 30 (1). pp. 1-36. ISSN 1073-0516

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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.

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Journal Article
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ACM Transactions on Computer-Human Interaction
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28 Apr 2023 12:55
Last Modified:
18 Sep 2023 02:12