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The Use of Analogies in Senior High School Introductory Computer Textbooks
Author: Cheng-Chih Wu, Neng-Yi Pang(Department of Information and Computer Education, National Taiwan Normal University)


Analogies are considered as an effective method for providing a bridge between un-familiar concepts and knowledge that students already have. However, analogies should be used cautiously because at some point every analogy breaks down. It can lead to misunderstanding as well as understanding. This study investigats the effects of using analogies on learning, the strategies of analogical teaching, and analogies used in sci-ence textbooks. Criteria for analyzing analogies used in science textbooks are concluded. Using these criteria, we then analyze 15 senior high school introductory computer textbooks. The content analysis indicates that 126 analogies exist in 15 textbooks, an aver-age of 8.4 analogies per book. Analogies are used most frequently in computer organi-zation related topics. The major deficiencies found in the analogies are: (1) The authors generally did not point out the limitations of analogies for students; and (2) about a half of the analogies are described with just one or two sentences. Future work should investigate the use of analogies in teaching computer science from the perspectives of authors, teachers, and students.

Keywords:Analogy, content analysis, computer textbooks

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