lunes, 26 de junio de 2017

Creative Coding and Intercultural Projects in Higher Education: a Case Study in Three Universities

José-Manuel Sáez López (
UNED, Spain)
Yoshiro Miyata (Chukyo University, Japan)
Mª Concepción Domínguez-Garrido (UNED, Spain)

(Resumen elaborado por sus autores del artículo del mismo nombre publicado en el número 2 del 2016 de la Revista Iberoamericana de Educación a Distancia

This study analyses the concepts, attitudes and practices of 113 students from three major universities in different countries (Japan, Mexico and Spain) related to the process of coding to create multimedia presentations in an intercultural context

The application of educational technology in universities is providing various possibilities that affect interactions in teaching and learning processes. The tools of synchronous and asynchronous communication (Anastasiades, Filippousis, Karvunis, Siakas, Tomazinakis, Giza & Mastoraki, 2010) together with the possibilities of multimedia content open a range of possibilities in educational contexts.

Using information provided from taxonomies (Näsström, 2009), practiceis designed to harnesses the potential to understand and create with the Scratch  application, which facilitates the work with codes and programs (scripts) to create multimedia content (Brennan & Resnick, 2012; Maloney, Resnick, Rusk, Silverman & Eastmong, 2010; Sáez-López, Román-González & Vázquez-Cano, 2016) with an active student-centred approach.

From an intercultural perspective, it is important to enable interactions between students from different universities and nationalities through virtual learning environments, Interactive Videoconferencing (Ertl, Fischer & Mandl, 2006; Gerstein, 2000; Knipe & Lee, 2002) and other communication tools (Edmodo, Voice Thread and Skype) that enable enrichment and interaction in the process to create and share content (Sáez, Leo & Miyata2013).

The research process focused on the application of a Design Based Research strategy (Anderson & Shattuck, 2012; Barab & Squire, 2004; Dede, Ketelhut, Whitehouse, Breit & McCloskey, 2009) that allows an intervention from complementary methods, which contribute to understanding interactions in learning processes. This approach allows for the analysis of innovative practices among several universities from the application in a real context with multiple interactions framed in an active and innovative instructional design in the field of university teaching.

Creative incorporation of technology in an educational framework and the use of ICT under pedagogical conditions improve interactive learning environments centred on the students.

The integration of the Scratch application presents a visual language that is free and easy to use and is favourable to a learning method based on projects with a role focused on students’ activity. This tool enables active and constructive learning; in fact, it is not difficult to imagine a situation of reproductive learning using this application (López-Escribano & Sánchez-Montoya, 2012).

“Digital fluency requires not just the ability to chat, browse, and interact but also the ability to design, create, and invent with new media” (Resnick, Maloney, Hernández, Rusk, Eastmond, Brennan, Millner, Rosenbaum, Silver, Silverman & Kafai, 2009, p. 60). Scratch is based on the ideas of the constructivist learning logo (Papert, 1980). This versatile application can be used to create projects containing media scripts. Images and sounds can be imported or created in Scratch using a built-in paint tool and sound recorder (Maloney et al., 2010).

Teachers and students have the perception that programming is very complicated due to the high level of abstraction of the concepts in order to program. The creators of Scratch (Resnick et al., 2009) believe that it is able to encompass different types of projects in different contexts through a fun, meaningful and social programming language. Papert (1980) argued that programming languages should have a “low floor” (easy to get started) and a “high ceiling” (complex projects).

The Scratch programming environment and language work together to create a system that is exceptionally quick to learn—users can be programming within fifteen minutes—yet with enough depth and variety to keep users engaged for years (Maloney et al., 2010, p. 14).

Moreover, it is important to value multiple ways of knowing: The learner has to be able to put concepts to use in their projects and understand other student’s work. Assessments should explore these multiple ways of knowing. “The intersection of computational thinking concepts and computational thinking practices leads to multiple ways of knowing” (Brennan & Resnick, 2012, p. 23).

Through Scratch, it is intended that students will be able to use programming concepts through a visual and intuitive language, because the management is performed by placing blocks of different colours and commands, which result in a product. “The Scratch programming system strives to help users build intuitions about computer programming as they create projects that engage their interests” (Maloney et al., 2010, p. 14).

The ability to interact with applications such as Voice Thread and Edmodo to share content and work collaboratively allows the development of intercultural activities with content and a continuous enrichment in interactions between students who show interest in others (Miyata, Ueshiba & Harada, 2012; Sáez, Leo & Miyata, 2013).

The interactions and learning experiences are enriched through the use of the Interactive Video Conference, which pinpoints the design of interactive activities in conjunction with well-organised, student-centred instruction; this is the key factor to an effective Video Conference (Omatsey, 1999; Stewart & Vallance, 2008).

Image 1: Scratch projects

Scratch, Voice Thread, Edmodo and Skype allow interactions with possibilities of creating multimedia and communication through collaborative work between students from different universities (Ertl, Fischer & Mandl, 2006; Knipe & Lee, 2002; Sáez, Leo & Miyata, 2013). These activities are described through a site that translates interactions, synchronous communication and creation of multimedia activities through programming them into different languages (Spanish and English)

The present study proposes three dimensions that address the research objectives through a quasi-experimental method. Perceptions and practices reported by students were analysed utilising this method. This kind of research is intended to describe the individual experience in particular environments (Creswell, 2003).

The study analyses information related to intercultural activities by college students from several countries using several communication tools. Intervention is framed in the mentioned research groups: Professional Training, Educational Intercultural Innovation and Media Design (Group 125 at UNED) and World Museum Project. The intervention comprehends six-month programmed activities during which students engaged in activities and case studies

Image 2: Examples, Scratch college beginner test (SCBT)

From the results of the Student’s t-test administered, it can be stated that there are significant improvements in the results of the administered test, so the program implemented improves the ability of students to understand the management of multimedia contents programming with Scratch.

Consistent with the objectives of the study and obtained information from the various tests, instruments and data triangulation, research processes show the following conclusions:

We concluded that the project implemented has significantly improved efficacy regarding the ability of students to understand and use multimedia content through block programming, enabling improvement in presentations and multimedia content.

The application of the present project allowed students to create sprites, backgrounds, text and sound in interactive presentations (over 75% of students) with statistical improvement.
Data shows (tests, questionnaire and interviews) positive attitudes of students regarding multimedia presentations using technologies in intercultural activities. Students have a favourable attitude towards the use of Scratch and other communications such as Voice Thread or Skype (Dimensions 2 and 3).

After the implementation of this project, students know how to work with sprites, background, sounds, text and interactions. Nevertheless, in order to enhance implementation in the future, we have to take into account that gaming, operators and connected hardware have not improved statistically in this process.

Although there are just a few limitations related to Scratch programming language, students highlighted that Scratch is intuitive (item 2.2.9), available, easy to use, funny and perfect for presentations and animations (Dimension 3, interviews).

In short, fostering intercultural multimedia activities and interaction using coding and communication tools in a university setting has several advantages regarding ICT skills and content creation. The implemented project aimed at helping students manage dynamic and interesting presentations to share with other students and cultures. Students noted positive attitudes related to intercultural activities using multimedia, coding and communication resources. The implemented project provided necessary training and skills in order to create interactive and attractive content using basic coding.

The positive feedback from students about the concept of coding to create multimedia presentations in intercultural contexts should be kept in mind Students have positive attitudes and clear ideas, and now, they simply need to be implemented in the future.

Sáez-López, J.M., Miyata, Y., & Domínguez-Garrido, M. C. (2016). Creative coding and intercultural projects in Higher Education: A case study in three universities. RIED. Revista Iberoamericana de Educación a Distancia, 19(2), pp. 145-165. doi:

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