In the thesis, we deal with early programming teaching. Nowadays, children start using modern technology at a very early age, meaning that technology rapidly becomes a part of their everyday life. To provide them with ability to understand technology and also the ability to utilize it to solve problems, they need to be provided with the appropriate knowledge and necessary skills in primary school. One of these is programming, which is one of the skills building the foundation for developing the ability of computational thinking.
In the theoretical part, of the thesis we present reasons and methods of integration of programming in Slovenian and other European schools. In addition, the neo-Piagetian theory is described, which is considered to be one of the key theories to understand the development of abstract thinking.
In the thesis, we are focused on early-stage learning of programming through mobile applications. We have analysed and described the following applications: RunMarco!, LightBot, and Tynker. These are supposedly the most appropriate applications, among the available ones. A more detailed analysis provided us with the fact that, application Tynker is not as suitable for teaching early programing as RunMarco! and LightBot are. In the empirical part, we have conducted a research among pupils of the third class to determine whether they are able to acquire the set learning objectives through the applications RunMarco! and LightBot. This was followed by a survey, which was essential to determine, which application was visually and conceptually more understandable to the pupils.
The results show that use of the application enabled students to learn the correct sequence of entries and commands. Some of the members of the research sample were also able to debug in the pre-written sequence of commands. From the research we can conclude that the application RunMarco! is suitable for students of lower grades of primary school, while the LightBot application is suitable for students of the second and third triad of primary school. Analysis of the questionnaire showed that the LightBot application is conceptually and visually more comprehensive to students. The overall results of the research and the survey have shown that both of the applications are suitable for early-stage learning of programming concepts.