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.
Source code plagiarism is an emerging issue in computer science education. As a result, a number of techniques have been proposed to handle this issue. However, comparing these techniques may be challenging, since they are evaluated with their own private dataset(s). This paper contributes in providing a public dataset for comparing these techniques. Specifically, the dataset is designed for evaluation with an Information Retrieval (IR) perspective. The dataset consists of 467 source code files, covering seven introductory programming assessment tasks. Unique to this dataset, both intention to plagiarise and advanced plagiarism attacks are considered in its construction. The dataset's characteristics were observed by comparing three IR-based detection techniques, and it is clear that most IR-based techniques are less effective than a baseline technique which relies on Running-Karp-Rabin Greedy-String-Tiling, even though some of them are far more time-efficient.
The objective of this article is to present the development and evaluation of dETECT (Evaluating TEaching CompuTing), a model for the evaluation of the quality of instructional units for teaching computing in middle school based on the students' perception collected through a measurement instrument. The dETECT model was systematically developed and evaluated based on data collected from 16 case studies in 13 different middle school institutions with responses from 477 students. Our results indicate that the dETECT model is acceptable in terms of reliability (Cronbach's alpha ?=.787) and construct validity, demonstrating an acceptable degree of correlation found between almost all items of the dETECT measurement instrument. These results allow researchers and instructors to rely on the dETECT model in order to evaluate instructional units and, thus, contribute to their improvement and to direct an effective and efficient adoption of teaching computing in middle school.
Programming is one of the basic subjects in most informatics, computer science mathematics and technical faculties' curricula. Integrated overview of the models for teaching programming, problems in teaching and suggested solutions were presented in this paper. Research covered current state of 1019 programming subjects in 715 study programmes at total of 218 faculties and 143 universities in 35 European countries that were analyzed. It was concluded that while most of the programmes highly support object-oriented paradigm of programming, introductory programming subjects are mainly based on imperative paradigm.
In this article we report about a study to assess Dutch teachers' Pedagogical Content Knowledge (\small PCK), with special focus on programming as a topic in secondary school Informatics education. For this research, we developed an online research instrument: the Online Teacher \small PCK Analyser (OTPA). The results show that Dutch teachers' \small PCK scores between low and medium. Also we enquired whether there is any relation between teachers' \small PCK and the textbooks they use by comparing the results of this study with those of a previous one in which the \small PCK of textbooks was assessed. The results show that there is no strong relation. Finally, we looked for trends between teachers' \small PCK and their educational backgrounds, as most of the Dutch teachers have a different background than Informatics. The results show that also in this case there is no strong relation.