Computer science concepts have an important part in other subjects and thinking computationally is being recognized as an important skill for everyone, which leads to the increasing interest in developing computational thinking (CT) as early as at the comprehensive school level. Therefore, research is needed to have a common understanding of CT skills and develop a model to describe the dimensions of CT. Through a systematic literature review, using the EBSCO Discovery Service and the ACM Digital Library search, this paper presents an overview of the dimensions of CT defined in scientific papers. A model for developing CT skills in three stages is proposed: i) defining the problem, ii) solving the problem, and iii) analyzing the solution. Those three stages consist of ten CT skills: problem formulation, abstraction, problem reformulation, decomposition, data collection and analysis, algorithmic design, parallelization and iteration, automation, generalization, and evaluation.
This study investigated the role of using unplugged computing activities on developing computational thinking (CT) skills of 6th-grade students. The unplugged computing classroom activities were based on the Bebras challenge, an international contest that aims to promote CT and informatics among school students of all ages. Participants of the study were fifty-three 6th-grade students from two public middle schools in Istanbul. The unplugged computing activities involved the tasks with three different difficulty levels covering the CT processes found to be common in CT definitions in the literature. To evaluate students’ CT skills, two equivalent tests were constructed from Bebras tasks considering the same parameters (difficulty levels and CT processes). The results showed that students’ post-test scores were significantly higher than their pre-test scores. There were not any significant differences between students’ scores in terms of gender, and there was no interaction effect between students’ CT scores and their gender.
As an international informatics contest, or challenge, Bebras has started the second decade of its existence. The contest attracts more and more countries every year, recently there have been over 40 participating countries. From a single contest-focused annual event Bebras developed to a multifunctional challenge and an activities-based educational community building model. This paper aims to introduce the Bebras model using ten years of observations in implementing the contest in different countries. The model is essentially based on democratic and inclusive education values. Systematic literature review of research papers concerning Bebras activities has made an integral background for this model. The model is represented both at international and national levels and consists of several components where the development of Bebras tasks has taken a very significant role. Reasoning on innovated learning informatics and strengthening computational thinking by utilising carefully selected informatics concepts is discussed as well.
There are many important issues in informatics and many agree that algorithms and programming are most important issues that need to be included in informatics education (Dagiene and Jevsikova, 2012). In this paper, we propose how some of these issues can be easily taught using the notion of a formal system which consists of axioms and inference rules by which theorems can be proved. As is argued in (Dagiene and Jevsikova, 2012), we can introduce important topics in informatics using puzzle-like examples and students do not need to have prerequisites for learning. The materials presented in this paper have been used in a college-level elective class titled Hypertext and Computability in our university since the fall semester of 2008 and we believe that the contents proposed in this paper can be easily used to teach beginner students without technical backgrounds.
These days ICT has penetrated into almost all sectors of the economy and society of Mongolia. More and more effort and attention is being paid to integrating ICT into the education sector. The current education reforms have a big component related to ICT, which includes the development of a Master plan for ICT in the Education sector, addressing the issues of ICT policy, infrastructure, hardware, software, human resource development and capacity building, content development etc. This paper describes the current state of ICT in general education in Mongolia. The paper also tries to address strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats in ICT education.