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Jamie Balfour's Dissertation: ClickIt

1 Abstract

Web development is a complicated subject to teach to younger learners, as I have learned first hand. As well as this, just as with any kind of new programming, web programming seems very daunting to many at first. Many teachers I have spoken to report that there is a lack of helpful tools for the new Scottish Higher level Computing Science course and that the web development portion of this is one of the parts most lacking.

In education, learning HTML first hand is the best way to understand it. Text editors give assistance to users such as autocomplete and in some cases snippets of code but for someone who has never used HTML, this is far from a good starting point.

ClickIt aims to introduce a new way of learning and teaching web development, particularly in relation to the way it is taught in schools.

I'd like to thank several people, namely Dr Helen Hastie for supervising me, Dr Fiona McNeill for being my second reader, Dr Santiago Chumbe for testing ClickIt for me. I'd also like to thank Professor Andrew Ireland, Professor Rob Pooley and Dr Tessa Berg for their help in getting me through this tough year.

As well as the above I'd like to thank Jonathan Craig for constantly telling me how brilliant my work is, Julian Ertel aka Merlin, Mark Young for supporting me. I'd like to thank Mr McSwan for permitting me to use his classes for the tests as well as the other three teachers who were very supportive throughout the development of ClickIt, Mrs Shuttleworth, Dr Collins, and Mr Murdoch.

Finally, I'd like to thank all of those who took part in the research that made this thesis possible.

My thesis received a first class degree, which in turn got me a strong first class honours in Computer Science from Heriot-Watt in 2016.


  1. Computing Science Project General assessment information, SQA, 2015 . Available from: . Accessed 12 Nov 2015
  2. Maiorana, F, 2014. Teaching Web Programming . University of Catania, pp. 49
  3. Jenkins, T, 2001. Teaching Programming - A Journey from Teacher to Motivator. University of Leeds, pp. 1 - 3.
  4. Kahn, K, 1995. ToonTalk - An Animated Programming Environment for Children . Stanford University, pp 198 - 201.
  5. SuperLogo, Axe Valley Community College, Available from: . Accessed: 11 Nov 2015
  6. Maloney, J, Resnick, M, Rusk, N, Silverman, B, 2010. The Scratch Programming Language and Environment . Massachusetts Institute of Technology, vol. 10, pp. 2 - 8.
  7. Hourcade, J P, 2001. Interaction Design and Children . University of Iowa, pp. 282 - 283
  8. Hanna, L, Risden, K, Alexander, K, 1997. Guidelines for Usability Testing with Children
  9. Texas Child Care: Back Issues, Lee, T, 2011. Available from: . Accessed: 17 Nov 2015
  10. Kolb’s Learning Styles, Business Balls, 2015. Available from: . Accessed: 17 Nov 2015


  1. W3C HTML5 and CSS2 and CSS3 specifications
  2. PHP Reference library
  3. SQA Curriculum for Excellence
  4. SQA Higher and Advanced Higher Computing course notes and past examination papers
  5. ToonTalk website (
  6. Logo versions website (
  7. Scratch website (
  8. Zurb Joyride website (