End-User Software Engineering in K-12 by Leveraging Existing Curricular Activities
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In recent years, an increasing number of people (called “end-users”) have started to perform a range of activities related to software development, such as coding with domain-specific languages. The research in the area of End-User Software Engineering (EUSE) aims at improving the quality of end-user-produced software by paying attention to the entire software life cycle. The increasing number of activities dedicated to the diffusion of coding in K-12 motivates the need of EUSE also in this environment. Students indeed will probably need to produce software in their future careers (even if not professionally), and the quality of their software may be crucial. In this work, we describe a didactic module in which the activities usually carried out in the existing study programme are exploited to introduce software engineering principles. The module does not shift the students’ attention from their main objectives and does not introduce additional lectures on software engineering topics. We describe the results of a first edition of the module that involved 17 students in a trilingual international high school. The results are promising and allow us to formulate hypotheses for further work, such as extending our approach to other activities and observe if and when students will develop a “software engineering mindset”, even without developing software.