When learning to code a student must learn both to create a program and then how to debug said program. Novices often start with print statements to help trace code execution and isolate logical errors. Eventually, they adopt advance debugger practices such as breakpoints, "stepping" through code execution, and "watching" variables as their values are updated. Unfortunately for students working with Arduino devices, there are no debugger tools built into the Arduino IDE. Instead, a student would have to move onto a professional IDE like Atmel Studio and/or acquire a hardware debugger. Except, these options have a steep learning curve and are not intended for a student who has just started to learn how to write code. I am developing an Arduino software library, called Pin Status, to assist novice programmers with debugging common logic errors and provide features specific to the e-textile microcontroller, Adafruit Circuit Playground Classic.
A Software Debugger for E-textiles and Arduino Microcontrollers
Today’s STEM classrooms have expanded the domain of computer science education from a basic two-toned terminal screen to now include helpful Integrated Development Environments(IDE) (BlueJ, Eclipse), block-based programming (MIT Scratch, Greenfoot), and even physical computing with embedded systems (Arduino, LEGO Mindstorm). But no matter which environment a student starts programming in, all students will eventually need help in finding and fixing bugs in their code. While the helpful IDE’s have debugger tools built in (breakpoints for pausing your program, ways to view/modify variable values, and "stepping" through code execution), in many of the other programming environments, students are limited to using print statements to try and "see" what is happening inside their program. Most students who learn to write code for Arduino microcontrollers will start within the Arduino IDE, but the official Arduino IDE does not currently provide any debugging tools. Instead, a student would have to move on to a professional IDE such as Atmel Studio or acquire a hardware debugger in order to add breakpoints or view their program’s variables. But each of these options has a steep learning curve, additional costs, and can require complex configurations. Based on research of student debugging practices[3, 7] and our own classroom observations, we have developed an Arduino software library, called Arduino Debugger, which provides some of these debugging tools (ex. breakpoints) while staying more »
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- FabLearn 2020 - 9th Annual Conference on Maker Education (FabLearn ’20)
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- National Science Foundation
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