In the last years, a growing trend in different educational contexts focused on Computational Thinking (CT) skills acquisition for both in-service teachers and students. But very low attention has been paid to pre-service teachers' education in regards to CT skills. To solve this issue, an empirical experimentation has been carried out with141 Italian pre-service teachers, that attended at a programming course, with the following aims: 1) provide them the main coding concepts by using Scratch 2.0; 2) offer practical advice on how to design educational applications (apps) to be applied into school context; 3) assess their apps by applying an already existing methodology, useful to give them feedback on their programming expertise and CT skills. Empirical findings showed that most of the participants achieved a medium-high level of CT skills, combining both design and programming skills in their school internship. Moreover, they reported a sense of greater self-esteem in teaching practice and a great emotional response from kids.
The aim of this study is to investigate perceptions of parents in Croatia towards advantages and disadvantages of computer use in general as well as their children's computer use and to reveal parents' concerns and opinions about digital technology (DT) education in kindergarten. The paper reports on research findings from one of the large public kindergartens in the capital city of Croatia. A total of 152 parents of the children aged 3 to 7 enrolled at this early childhood education institution filled in the survey. Results show that although being very well equipped with digital technology hardware at home (99% of surveyed parents owns a computer, tablet or smartphone), parents feel anxious and are not always willing to allow their children to use DT. Results of our survey reveal young children's ability to use DT, but they also show that mere possession of DT at home and enabling children to use computers does not guarantee development of computer literacy and/or information literacy skills.
Blended learning is becoming an attractive model in higher education as new innovative information technologies are becoming increasingly available. However, just blending face-to-face learning with information technologies cannot provide effective teaching and efficient solutions for learning. To be successful, blended learning must rely on solid learning theory and pedagogical strategies. In addition, there is a need for a design-based research approach to explore blending learning through successive cycles of experimentations, where the shortcomings of each cycle are identified, redesigned, and reevaluated. This paper reports on a study conducted on a blended learning model in Java programming at the introductory level. It presents the design, implementation, and evaluation of the model and its implications for the learning of introductory computer programming.