An Analysis of Use-Modify-Create Pedagogical Approach's Success in Balancing Structure and Student Agency
As computer science instruction gets offered to more young learn- ers, transitioning from elective to requirement, it is important to explore the relationship between pedagogical approach and student behavior. While different pedagogical approaches have particular motivations and intended goals, little is known about to what degree they satisfy those goals. In this paper, we present analysis of 536 students’ (age 9-14, grades 4-8) work within a Scratch-based, Use-Modify-Create (UMC) curriculum, Scratch Encore. We investigate to what degree the UMC progression encourages students to engage with the content of the lesson while providing the flexibility for creativity and exploration. Our findings show that this approach does balance structure with flexibility and creativity, allowing teachers wide variation in the degree to which they adhere to the structured tasks. Many students utilized recently-learned blocks in open-ended activities, yet they also explored blocks not formally taught. In addition, they took advantage of open-ended projects to change sprites, backgrounds, and integrate narratives into their projects.