In today’s society, creativity plays a key role, emphasizing the importance of its development in K-12 education. Computing education may be an alternative for students to extend their creativity by solving problems and creating computational artifacts. Yet, there is little systematic evidence available to support this claim, also due to the lack of assessment models. This article presents SCORE, a model for the assessment of creativity in the context of computing education in K-12. Based on a mapping study, the model and a self-assessment questionnaire are systematically developed. The evaluation, based on 76 responses from K-12 students, indicates a high internal reliability (Cronbach’s alpha = 0.961) and confirmed the validity of the instrument suggesting only the exclusion of 3 items that do not seem to be measuring the concept. As such, the model represents a first step aiming at the systematic improvement of teaching creativity as part of computing education.
Computational thinking (CT) has been introduced in primary schools worldwide. However, rich classroom-based evidence and research on how to assess and support students’ CT through programming are particularly scarce. This empirical study investigates 4th grade students’ (N = 57) CT in a comparatively comprehensive and fine-grained manner by assessing their Scratch projects (N = 325) with a framework that was revised from previous studies to aim towards enhancing CT. The results demonstrate in detail the various coding patterns and code constructs the students programmed in assorted projects throughout a programming course and the extent to which they had conceptual encounters with CT. Notably, the projects indicated CT diversely, and the students altogether encountered dissimilar areas in CT. To target the acquisition of CT broadly, manifold programming activities are necessary to introduce in the classroom. Furthermore, we discuss the possibilities of applying the assessment framework employed herein to support CT education through Scratch in classrooms.
Although Machine Learning (ML) is integrated today into various aspects of our lives, few understand the technology behind it. This presents new challenges to extend computing education early to ML concepts helping students to understand its potential and limits. Thus, in order to obtain an overview of the state of the art on teaching Machine Learning concepts in elementary to high school, we carried out a systematic mapping study. We identified 30 instructional units mostly focusing on ML basics and neural networks. Considering the complexity of ML concepts, several instructional units cover only the most accessible processes, such as data management or present model learning and testing on an abstract level black-boxing some of the underlying ML processes. Results demonstrate that teaching ML in school can increase understanding and interest in this knowledge area as well as contextualize ML concepts through their societal impact.
The European Commission Science Hub has been promoting Computational Thinking (CT) as an important 21st century skill or competence. However, "despite the high interest in developing computational thinking among schoolchildren and the large public and private investment in CT initiatives, there are a number of issues and challenges for the integration of CT in the school curricula". On the other hand, the Digital Competence (DC) Framework 2.0 (DigCom) is promoted in the same European Commission Science Hub portal. It shows that both topics have many things in common. Thus, there is the need of research on the relationship between CT and digital competence.
The goal of this paper is to analyse and discuss the relationship between DC and CT, and to help educators as well as educational policy makers to make informed decisions about how CT and DC can be included in their local institutions. We begin by defining DC and CT and then discuss the current state of both phenomena in education in multiple countries in Europe. By analysing official documents, we try to find the underlying commonness in both DC and CT, and discover all possible connections between them. Possible interconnections between the component groups of approaches are presented in Fig.
Diverse initiatives have emerged to popularize the teaching of computing in K-12 mainly through programming. This, however, may not cover other important core computing competencies, such as Software Engineering (SE). Thus, in order to obtain an overview of the state of the art and practice of teaching SE competences in K-12, we carried out a systematic mapping study. We identified 17 instructional units mostly adopting the waterfall model or agile methodologies focusing on the main phases of the software process. However, there seems to be a lack of details hindering large-scope adoption of these instructional units. Many articles also do not report how the units have been developed and/or evaluated. However, results demonstrating both the viability and the positive contribution of initiating SE education already in K-12, indicate a need for further research in order to improve computing education in schools contributing to the popularization of SE competencies.