This paper investigates unplugged computing as a formal pedagogical strategy to teaching computing to a Maltese secondary class of Year 9 students. It aims at identifying the effectiveness of this pedagogy outlining the strengths and weaknesses in its application, taking into consideration the level of attainment for students, as well as the impact on teachers’ lesson preparation. This research study is based on the delivery of five unplugged activities. It analyses students’ reaction when exposed to such unplugged activities to assess the viability of using this pedagogy when teaching computing concepts in a formal setting. The study concludes that unplugged computing is an effective pedagogical strategy that helps attain a high level of engagement and student involvement, encouraging teamwork and collaboration. Students experience a wide attention span and good retention through the constant link of computing scenarios to real-life examples and the use of tangible non-computing related objects. Notwithstanding, the study also identifies certain limitations of this pedagogy, mainly that it is not sufficient as a standalone pedagogy, but needs to be applied in conjunction with other pedagogies to be able to cover all the expected learning objectives of the curriculum.
Programming is one of the most important aspects of a Computing course. Teaching programming is a challenging task due to a number of factors, ranging from lack of student problem solving skills to different teaching methods. This paper focuses on Maltese Computing teachers’ perspectives about the difficulties encountered when teaching programming to secondary school students in order to determine whether introducing programming to secondary school students through creating mobile-based games is an effective method to teach programming constructs. A resource pack consisting of various activities using MIT App Inventor 2 was created which incorporated constructivist approaches to teaching. This resource pack was reviewed by the teachers and their feedback was collected by means of a case study. The teachers agreed that developing mobile-based games would be highly stimulating to their students but there were uncertainties how this would affect students with different learning abilities and due to a general lack of computational thinking and problem-solving skills by most students.
The teaching of sorting algorithms is an essential topic in undergraduate computing courses. Typically the courses are taught through traditional lectures and exercises involving the implementation of the algorithms. As an alternative, this article presents the design and evaluation of three educational games for teaching Quicksort and Heapsort. The games have been evaluated in a series of case studies, including 23 applications of the games in data structures courses at the Federal University of Santa Catarina with the participation of a total of 371 students. The results provide a first indication that such educational games can contribute positively to the learning outcome on teaching sorting algorithms, supporting the students to achieve learning on higher levels as well as to increase the students' motivation on this topic. The social interaction the games promote allows the students to cooperate or compete while playing, making learning more fun.
Despite the fact that digital technologies are more and more used in the learning and education process, there is still lack of professional evaluation tools capable of assessing the quality of used digital teaching aids in a comprehensive and objective manner. Construction of the Comprehensive Evaluation of Electronic Learning Tools and Educational Software (CEELTES) tool was preceded by several surveys and knowledge obtained in the course of creation of digital learning and teaching aids and implementation thereof in the teaching process. The evaluation tool as such consists of sets (catalogues) of criteria divided into four separately assessed areas - the area of technical, technological and user attributes; the area of criteria evaluating the content, operation, information structuring and processing; the area of criteria evaluating the information processing in terms of learning, recognition, and education needs; and, finally, the area of criteria evaluating the psychological and pedagogical aspects of a digital product. The specified areas are assessed independently, separately, by a specialist in the given science discipline. The final evaluation of the assessed digital product objectifies (quantifies) the overall rate of appropriateness of inclusion of a particular digital teaching aid in the teaching process.
The Lithuanian Informatics Olympiad is a problem solving contest for high school students. The work of each contestant is evaluated in terms of several criteria, where each criterion is measured according to its own scale (but the same scale for each contestant). Several jury members are involved in the evaluation. This paper analyses the problem how to calculate the aggregated score for whole submission in the above mentioned situation. The chosen methodology for solving this problem is Multiple Criteria Decision Analysis (MCDA). The outcome of this paper is the score aggregation method proposed to be applied in LitIO developed using MCDA approaches.