Debugging in Programming as a Multimodal Practice in Early Childhood Education Settings

Mia Heikkilä, Linda Mannila

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

28 Citations (Scopus)
9 Downloads (Pure)


Theaim of this article is to broadly elaborate on how programming can be understood as a new teaching scope in preschools, with the specific research question concerning debugging as one of the phases involved in learning to program. The research question How can debugging as part of teaching and learning programming be understood as multimodal learning? has guided the analysis and the presentation of the data. In this study, and its analysis process, we have combined a multimodal understanding of teaching and learning practices with understandings of programming and how it is practiced. This means that the multidisciplinary approach in this study, combining theories from social sciences with theories and concepts from computer science, is central throughout the article. This is therefore also a creative, explorative process as there are no clear norms to follow when conducting multidisciplinary analyses. The data consist of video recordings of teaching sessions with children and a teacher working on programming. The video material was recorded in the preschool during the school year 2017-2018. The video material consists of 25 sessions of teaching in programming with preschool children, who were four or five years old. The results show how debugging in ECE is a multimodal activity socially established by use of speech, pointing and gaze. Our results also show how artefacts are central to learning debugging, and a term instructional artefacts is therefore added.

Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Pages (from-to)
JournalMultimodal Technologies and Interaction
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2018
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • programming
  • multimodality
  • Early Childhood Education and Care
  • Varhaiskasvatus (Early Childhood Education)
  • IT artefacts

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