Introducing Secondary Education Students to Programming through Sound Alerts


  •   Theofani S. Sklirou

  •   Areti Andreopoulou

  •   Anastasia Georgaki

  •   Nikolaos D. Tselikas


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.

Keywords: Programming teaching, Psychoacoustic perception, Secondary education, Sound-alerts


Aaron, S., Blackwell, A. F., & Burnard, P. (2016). The development of Sonic Pi and its use in educational partnerships: Co-creating pedagogies for learning computer programming. Journal of Music, Technology & Education. 9 (1), 75–94.

Aggelidakis, N. (2015). Introduction in programming with Python. Retrieved on 30 June, 2020 from:

Alexandrakis, N.P. (2001). Introduction to Structured Programming and the Programming Language Pascal. Athens.

Algorithmos. Retrieved on 30 June, 2020 from: heia.html.

Aslanidou, S. (2010). Educational Technology, From the audiovisual in the digital treatment.

Avouris, N. (2000). Introduction to Human Communication – Computer. Athens: Diavlos.

Bayman, P., & Mayer, R. E. (1983). A Diagnosis of Beginning Programmers' Misconceptions of BASIC Programming Statements, Communications of the ACM, vol. 26, n° 9, pp. 677-679.

Beanz (2013). The magazine for kids, code, and computer science. Retrieved on 30 June, 2020 from:

Burt, J. L., Bartolome, D. S., Burdette, D. W., & Comstock, J. R. Jr. (1995). A psychophysiological evaluation of the perceived urgency of auditory warning signals. Ergonomics, 38(11), 2327-2340.

Cerf ,V.G. (2018).The sound of programming. Communications of the ACM, 61(4), 6.

Chronaki, A., & Kourias, S. (2011). Kids, Robots and Lego Mindstorms: The Recording of an interactive relationship start. Proceedings of the 2nd Panhellenic Conference on ICT in Education (in Greek), pp 1009 – 1022, Patras, Greece.

Cipriani, A., & Giri, M. (2010). Electronic Music and Sound Design - Theory and Practice with Max/MSP - volume 1, 2nd edition. Rome: ConTempoNet.

Dagdilelis, V. (1986). Conceptions des eleves a propos des notions fontamentales de la programmation informatique en classe de Troisieme, Memoire D.E.A., Universite Joseph FOURIER, Grenoble, France.

Dagdilelis, V. (1996). Teaching computer science. The teaching of programming: students' perceptions of the construction and validation of programs and teaching situations for their formation, PHD, Department of Applied Informatics, University of Macedonia.

Du Boulay, B. (1989). Some difficulties of learning to program. In Soloway, E., Spohrer, J.C. (Eds.), Studying the Novice Programmer, London, Lawrence Erlbaum Associates (pp. 283–299).

Doleck, T., Bazelais, P., Lemay, D. J., Saxena, A. & Basnet, R. B. (2017). Algorithmic thinking, cooperativity, creativity, critical thinking, and problem solving: exploring the relationship between computational thinking skills and academic performance. Journal of Computers in Education, 4, 355–3. Retrieved on 30 June, 2020 from:

Fastl, H. (2006). Psychoacoustic basis of sound quality evaluation and sound engineering. Proceedings of the International Congress on Sound and Vibration, 2006. Vienna, Austria.

Fluck, A., Webb, M., Cox, M., Angeli, C., Malyn-Smith, J., Voogt, J., & Zagami, J. (2016). Arguing for Computer Science in the School Curriculum. Educational Technology & Society, 19 (3), 38–46.

Genuit, K. (2004). Sound quality in environment: Psychoacoustic mapping. ASA 2004, San Diego, CA, USA.

Gorson, J., Patel, N., Beheshti, E., Magerko, B., & Horn, M. (2017). TunePad: Computational Thinking Through Sound Composition. IDC '17: Proceedings of the 2017 Conference on Interaction Design and ChildrenJune 2017 Pages 484–489

Gilfix, M., & Couch, A. Peep (The Network Auralizer): Monitoring Your Network With Sound. Retrieved on 30 June, 2020 from:

Grigoriadou, M., Gogolou, A., Gouli, E., Glezos, K., Boubouka, M., Papanikolaou, K., Tsagkanou, C., Kanidis, E.,Dukakis, D., Fragkou, S., & Verginis, H. (2009). Teaching Approaches and Tools for teaching IT. Athens:New Technologies.

Hsu, T.-C., & Hwang, G.-J. (2017). Effects of a Structured Resource-based Web Issue-Quest Approach on Students’ Learning Performances in Computer Programming Courses. Educational Technology & Society, 20 (3), 82–94.

Jerinic, L., Ivanovic, M., Puntik, Z., Budimac, Z., & Savic, M. (2014). e-Education in Teaching Programming - Forty Years of Promises? International Conference on e-Learning’14. Retrieved on 30 June, 2020 from:

Kelleher, C., & Pausch,R. (2005). Lowering the Barriers to Programming: A Taxonomy of Programming Environments and Languages for Novice Programmers. ACM-Computer-Surveys.

Kernighan, B.W., & Ritchie, D. M. (1988). The C Programming Language. Prentice-Hall.

Kirn, P. (2018). Roland and MIT want to use music to teach kids programming. Retrieved on 30 June, 2020 from:

Lockwood, J., & Mooney A. (2018) Computational Thinking in Secondary Education: Where Does It Fit? A Systematic Literary Review, International Journal of Computer Science Education in Schools.

Mathrani, A., Christian, S., & Ponder-Sutton, A. (2016). PlayIT: Game Based Learning Approach for Teaching Programming Concepts. Educational Technology & Society, 19 (2), 5–17.

Mayer, R. (1981). The Psychology of How Novices Learn Computer Programming, Computing Surveys, Vol. 13, n° 1, pp. 121-141.

Milne, I., & Rowe, G.(2002). Difficulties in Learning and Teaching Programming—Views of Students and Tutors. Education and Information Technologies 7(1), 55-66.

Noone, M., & Mooney, A. (2018).Visual and textual programming languages: a systematic review of the literature. Journal of Computers in Education, 5, 149–174.

Noss, R. (1984). Children Learning Logo Programming. Interim Report No. 2 of the Childern Logo Project, Advisory Unit for Computer Based Education, Hatfield, United Kingdom.

Papazoglou, P., & Lionis, S.–P. (2014). Applications Developing with Arduino. Publisher: Tziolas

Pea, R.D. (1986). Language-independent conceptual “bugs” in novice programming. Journal of Educational Computing Research (pp. 2, 25–36).

Place, T., & Lossius, T. (2006). Jamoma:A modular standard for structuring patches in Max: Proc. of the International Computer Music Conference, pp. 143–146, New Orleans, US.

Poulakis, E. (2015). By programming the Arduino microcontroller. Heraklion.

Ringwood, J. V., Monaghan, K., & Maloco, J. (2005). Teaching engineering design through Lego Mindstorms. European Journal of Engineering Education, 30:1, (pp. 91 – 104)

Robins, A., Rountree, J., & Rountree, N. (2003). Learning and Teaching Programming: A Review and Discussion. Computer Science Education, 13(2), 137-172.

Rogalski, J. (1989). Problem-Solving in Mathematics and in Informatics: Differencies and Invariants. In J. Hoc, T Green, R. Samurçay & D. Gilmore (Eds.), Psychology of Programming, pp. 236-247.

Rouchier, A., & Samurçay, R. (1984). Concepts Informatiques et programmation: Une premiere analyse en classe de seconde des Lycees, Rapport de recherche CNRS.

Saeli, M., Perrenet, J., Jochems, W., & Zwaneved, B. (2011). Teaching Programming in Secondary School: A Pedagogical Content Knowledge Perspective, Informatics in Education,(10), 73-88.

Samurçay, R. (1989). The Concept of Variable in Programming: its Meaning and Use in Problem-Solving by Novice Programmers, In E. Soloway, J. Sprohrer (Eds.) Studying The Novice Programmer, 161-178, Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Schneiderman, B. (1980). Software Psychology, Human Factors in Computer and Informtion Systems, Winthrop Publishers Inc', Cambridge.

Scratch Wiki (2015). Retrieved on 30 June, 2020 from: ScratchX.

Selby, C., & Woollard, J. (2013). Computational thinking: the developing definition. University of Southampton (E-prints) 6pp.

Spinet. Retrieved on 30 June, 2020 from:

Stephenson, C., Gal-Ezer, J., Haberman,B., & Verno,A. (2005). The New Educational Imperative: Improving HighSchool Computer Science Education (Rep. No. Final Report of the CSTA Curriculum Improvement Task Force, 2005).

SuperCollider platform, available at:

Szlávi, P., & Zsakó, L. (2006). Programming versus applicationIn: Mittermeir, R.T. (Ed.), ISSEP 2006, LNCS 4226 (48–58).

Toh, L. P. E., Causo, A., Tzuo, P. W., Chen, I. M., & Yeo, S. H. (2016). A Review on the Use of Robots in Education and Young Children. Educational Technology & Society, 19 (2), 148–163.

Tsolakidis, K., & Fokidis, M. (2007). Virtual reality in education.Athens.

Tzimogiannis, A., Tsiotakis, P., Tsakonas, P., & Vraxnos, P. (2019). Basic Misconceptions in Programming Teaching.

Vakaloudi, A. (2003). Teaching and learning with new technologies theory and practice. Athens: Patakis.

Weigend, M. (2006). From intuition to program. Programming versus application. In: Mittermeir.

Xynogalos, S. (2000). Programming Microcosms: Another Approach to Teaching Programming, Proceedings of the Conference "Informatics and Education", Thessaloniki, November 2000.

Xynogalos, S. (2002). Educational Technology: A Teaching Microcosm for Introduction to Object Oriented Programming, PHD, Department of Applied Informatics, University of Macedonia.

Yarbrough, D. (2017). Sound the alarm: how sounds affect our memory and emotions. Retrieved on 30 June, 2020 from:


Download data is not yet available.


How to Cite
Sklirou, T.S., Andreopoulou, A., Georgaki, A. and Tselikas, N.D. 2020. Introducing Secondary Education Students to Programming through Sound Alerts. European Journal of Engineering and Technology Research. 5, 12 (Dec. 2020), 130-139. DOI: