Teaching Software Engineering Principles in Non-Vocational Schools
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Many activities, such as computational thinking courses, are nowadays proposed in K-12 to prepare students for the current labour market, where being able to creatively use technology to solve problems is becoming increasingly important, and where more and more people are engaged in programming activities. Thus, there is a need to equip students with the necessary means to improve software quality, including non-vocational schools, where the challenge is leveraging existing curricular, non-programming activities to this end. This work explores the possibility of fostering software engineering principles in non-vocational high schools through curricular, non-programming activities. We describe two didactic modules and report the results of a classroom experience (involving 16 high school first-year students) that has been carried out to understand the effectiveness of the proposed approach. During the didactic modules, the participants achieved the objectives of the curricular activity, and at the same time learned how to organize their work by applying software en- gineering principles. These results 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”.