Parallel Programming with Pictures: Choosing Your Own Adventure


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Given the ubiquity of parallel computing hardware, we introduced parallelprogramming with pictures to the block-based Snap! environment and called it pSnap!, short for parallel Snap! We then created an accessible curriculum for students of all ages to learn how to program serially and then how to program with explicit parallelism. This paper presents a new and innovative extension to our curriculum on parallel programming with pSnap!, one that broadens its appeal to the masses by teaching the application of parallel programming as a ''choose your own learning adventure'' activity, inspired by the Choose Your Own Adventure book series of the 1980s and 1990s. Specifically, after students learn the basics of parallel programming with pictures, they are ready to choose their next learning adventure, which applies their newfound parallel programming skills to create a video game of their choice, i.e., Missile Command or Do You Want to Build a Snowman?



block-based programming, curriculum, computer science education, parallel programming, pictures, Scratch, Snap, pSnap