In a previous publication we examined the connections between high-school computer science (CS) and computing higher education. The results were promising—students who were exposed to computing in high school were more likely to take one of the computing disciplines. However, these correlations were not necessarily causal. Possibly those students who took CS courses, and especially high-level CS courses in high school, were already a priori inclined to pursue computing education. This uncertainty led us to pursue the current research. We aimed at finding those factors that induced students to choose CS at high school and later at higher-education institutes. We present quantitative findings obtained from analyzing freshmen computing students' responses to a designated questionnaire. The findings show that not only did high-school CS studies have a major impact on students’ choice whether to study computing in higher education—it may have also improved their view of the discipline.
The aim of this study was to reveal pre-service teachers' experiences in learning robotics design and programming. Data were collected from 15 pre-service teachers through semi-structured interviews and analyzed using the content analysis method. Three themes were identified in this study: Course process, professional development and teaching children. The pre-service teachers indicated that they found opportunities to learn by doing and experience, enjoyed doing robotics activities and felt in flow in this process. They also expressed that the robotics programming course positively influenced their attitudes towards programming and improved their programming skills. They emphasized the importance of keeping their intrinsic motivation high by maintaining their individual efforts to solve problems. Moreover, they made various suggestions for teaching robotics to children. Implications are discussed in terms of practices for educational robotics in teacher training, and further research directions.
It is important today to prepare pre-service teachers to integrate social media tools into their lessons and to teach them how to use social media as a learning environment for educational context. Based on this, an undergraduate course was designed to fulfil this need. Hence, the purpose of this study is to investigate the behaviours and perceptions of 27 pre-service teachers enrolled to a 14-week social-media enriched blended course. Facebook was used to support an out-of-class teaching and learning process. During the course, students developed educational content and were informed on how to use social media as a learning environment in an educational context. After implementation, they were asked to respond to an open-ended questionnaire related to the 14-week course process and social media usage in lessons. According to the findings, pre-service teachers stated that the use of social media tools, in addition to face-to-face learning, can enhance the dissemination of announcements, communication between students and instructor, the sharing of instructional activities, discussions, and the use and creation of multimedia tools and applications 24x7, by extending the limits of normal class hours. Most also stated that they would use Facebook for material and announcement sharing once they were in-service teachers. In addition to Facebook, they emphasised that they would also use Prezi, Glogster, MindMeister and Edmodo for their lessons and that they had learnt new concepts and social media tools during the course. They also suggested increasing the number of course hours and reducing course content per course session.
Automated assessment technologies have been used in education for decades (e.g., computerised multiple choice tests). In contrast, Automated Essay Grading (AEG) technologies: have existed for decades; are `good in theory' (e.g., as accurate as humans, temporally and financially efficient, and can enhance formative feedback), and yet; are ostensibly used comparatively infrequently in Australian universities. To empirically examine these experiential observations we conducted a national survey to explore the use of automated assessment in Australian universities and examine why adoption of AEG is limited. Quantitative and qualitative data were collected in an online survey from a sample of 265 staff and students from 5 Australian universities. The type of assessment used by the greatest proportion of respondents was essays/reports (82.6%), however very few respondents had used AEG (3.8%). Recommendations are made regarding methods to promote technology utilisation, including the use of innovative dissemination channels such as 3D Virtual Worlds.
The International Olympiad in Informatics (IOI) aspires to be a science olympiad alongside such international olympiads in mathematics, physics, chemistry, and biology. Informatics as a discipline is well suited to a scientific approach and it offers numerous possibilities for competitions with a high scientific standing. We argue that, in its current form, the IOI fails to be scientific in the way it evaluates the work of the contestants.
In this paper, we describe the major ingredients of the IOI to guide further discussions. By presenting the results of an extensive analysis of two IOI competition tasks, we hope to create an awareness of the urgency to address the shortcomings. We offer some suggestions to raise the scientific quality of the IOI.