It is considered hard to teach programming in secondary education while achieving the aims of curriculum. However, when teaching is supported by suitable methodologies, learning can be ameliorated. Under this premise, this paper discusses different teaching approaches to programming in secondary education and examines the potential benefit of sound-alerts as a complementary teaching tool. Such alerts were created by pairing different sound stimuli to specific programming actions and operations. Both the selection of the sound stimuli, as well as the potential impact of the use of sound alerts on programming are evaluated through subjective studies. Results showed that participants preferred synthesized to natural (pre-recorded) stimuli for all types of alerts. It was also revealed that users prefer sound-alerts associated to pending actions, errors, successful code execution, conditional statements and code looping over alerts highlighting the step-by-step execution of the code. Finally, the test results showed that students understand both the meaning and the use of code commands more clearly when they use a sound-enriched programming environment instead of a conventional one. These results were the motivation for the initial creation of an audio and voice messages’ data base and the initial design of a new comprehensive educational tool using sound.
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