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Education Research International
Volume 2015 (2015), Article ID 840217, 11 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2015/840217
Research Article

Developing an Algorithm Learning Tool for High School Introductory Computer Science

1Tokyo Institute of Technology, 2-12-1-W9-108 Ookayama, Meguro-ku, Tokyo 152-8552, Japan
2Tokyo Tech High School of Science and Technology, 3-3-6 Shibaura, Minato-ku, Tokyo 108-0023, Japan

Received 30 November 2014; Accepted 21 February 2015

Academic Editor: Shu-Sheng Liaw

Copyright © 2015 Aimee Theresa Avancena et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

This paper presents the initial stage of developing an algorithm learning tool for the students of the Information Systems course at Tokyo Tech High School of Science and Technology in Japan. The tool applies the concept of Algorithm Visualization (AV) technology and was used as an aid for learning basic algorithms such as searching and sorting. Two AV types were included in the tool, one with more input options and control and the other with less. Previously proposed AV evaluation properties and the Categories of Algorithm Learning Objectives (CALO) were considered in designing the tool’s evaluation questionnaire. Written tests based on CALO were also designed. Posttest results indicate moderate improvement in the performance of the students. Test results also show that student abilities match some of the algorithm learning objectives. The students who used the AV with more options have a slightly higher gain score average in the posttest compared with those who used the AV with limited control. Overall assessment indicates a positive evaluation of the tool and signifies the students’ preferred AV characteristics. After factor analysis of the evaluation questionnaire, three factors were extracted which correspond to the suggested AV evaluation properties. These results may be used in improving the learning tool and the evaluation questionnaire.