This paper presents an approach to the initial programming learning using the four components instructional model and the Alice software. The quasi-experimental design was developed with two groups of students that attended two schools with very different socioeconomic status and school retention levels. The differences obtained in the mean of the programming knowledge test when co-variated with the Logical Development Scale score were positive in the two groups, with no statistical significance in the difference between both (p = 0.05). The differences obtained in the Logical Development Scale score (Échelle Collective de Devéloppement Lógique [ECDL]), before and after the experimental treatment, revealed positive differences in the experimental group with no statistical significance (p > 0.05), and in the control group with statistical significance (p < 0.05). These results suggest that the Alice software when combined with the 4C-ID instructional model has positive effects in programming learning and in logical reasoning.
As computing has become an integral part of our world, demand for teaching computational thinking in K-12 has increased. One of its basic competences is programming, often taught by learning activities without a predefined solution using block-based visual programming languages. Automatic assessment tools can support teachers with their assessment and grading as well as guide students throughout their learning process. Although being already widely used in higher education, it remains unclear if such approaches exist for K-12 computing education. Thus, in order to obtain an overview, we performed a systematic mapping study. We identified 14 approaches, focusing on the analysis of the code created by the students inferring computational thinking competencies related to algorithms and programming. However, an evident lack of consensus on the assessment criteria and instructional feedback indicates the need for further research to support a wide application of computing education in K-12 schools.
In computer science education at school, computational thinking has been an emerging topic over the last decade. Even though, computational thinking is interpreted and integrated in classrooms in different ways, an identification process about what computational thinking is about has been in progress among computer science school-teachers and computer science education researchers since Wing's initial paper on the characteristics of computational thinking. On the other hand, the constructionist learning theory by Papert, based on constructivism and Piaget, has a long tradition in computer science education for describing the students' learning process by hands-on activities. Our contribution, in this paper, is to present a new mapping tool which can be used to review classroom activities in terms of both computational thinking and constructionist learning. For the tool, we have reused existing definitions of computer science concepts and computational thinking concepts and combined these with our new constructionism matrix. The matrix's most notable feature is its scale of learners' autonomy. This scale represents the degree of choices learners have at each stage of development of their artefact. To develop the scale definitions, we trialed the mapping tool, coding twenty-one popular international computing activities for pupils aged 5 to 11 (K-5). From our trial, we have shown that we can use the mapping tool, with a moderate to high degree of reliability across coders, to analyse classroom activities with regard to computational thinking and constructionism, however, further validation is needed to establish its usefulness. Despite a small number of activities (n = 21) being analysed with our mapping tool, our preliminary results showed several interesting findings. Firstly, that learner autonomy was low for defining the problem and developing their own design. Secondly that the activity type (such as lesson plan rather than online activity) or artefact created (such as physical artefact rather than onscreen activity or unplugged activity), rather than the computational thinking or computer science concept being taught was related to learner autonomy. This provides some tentative evidence, which may seem obvious, that the learning context rather than the learning content is related to degree of constructionism of an activity and that computational thinking per se may not be related to constructionism. However, further work is needed on a larger number of activities to verify and validate this suggestion.
In the last years, a growing trend in different educational contexts focused on Computational Thinking (CT) skills acquisition for both in-service teachers and students. But very low attention has been paid to pre-service teachers' education in regards to CT skills. To solve this issue, an empirical experimentation has been carried out with141 Italian pre-service teachers, that attended at a programming course, with the following aims: 1) provide them the main coding concepts by using Scratch 2.0; 2) offer practical advice on how to design educational applications (apps) to be applied into school context; 3) assess their apps by applying an already existing methodology, useful to give them feedback on their programming expertise and CT skills. Empirical findings showed that most of the participants achieved a medium-high level of CT skills, combining both design and programming skills in their school internship. Moreover, they reported a sense of greater self-esteem in teaching practice and a great emotional response from kids.
This paper describes a study of students' meaningful learning of the engineering design process during their participation in robotics activities. The population consisted of middle-school students (ages 13-15 years) who participated in the FIRST® LEGO® League competition. The methodology used was qualitative, including observations and interviews. The analysis was based on the Revised Bloom Taxonomy. Almost all the groups demonstrated meaningful learning, although some reached higher levels than others. Most of the groups demonstrated the understanding/applying level during each of the design process phases (searching and decision making, construction and testing, diagnosing and debugging), some demonstrated the analyzing/evaluating level, but only a few demonstrated the higher level of creating. Factors that seemed to play a role in the students' learning include: (a) the teaching or mentoring style; (b) the absence of a robotics textbook; (c) the extra-curricular competition-oriented nature of the activities; and (d) the unstable nature of the design of the robot.
In this study, effectiveness of a computer science course at the secondary school level is investigated through a holistic approach addressing the dimensions of instructional content design, development, implementation and evaluation framed according to ADDIE instructional design model where evaluation part constituted the research process for the current study. The process has initiated when the computer science curriculum had major revisions in order to provide in-service teachers with necessary support and guidance. The study is carried through as a project, which lasted more than one year and both quantitative and qualitative measures were used through a sequential explanatory method approach. The intention was to investigate the whole process in detail in order to reveal the effectiveness of the process and the products. In this regard, not only teachers' perceptions but also students' developments in their perceptions of academic achievement and computational thinking, as well as correlations between the computational thinking sub-factors were investigated. The findings showed that the instructional materials and activities developed within the scope of the study, positively affected the computational thinking and academic achievement of students aged 10 and 12 years old. The teachers' weekly feedbacks regarding application structures and implementation processes were also supported the findings and revealed some more details that will be useful both for instructional designers and teachers.
The aim of this study is to develop a self-efficacy measuring tool that can predict the computational thinking skill that is seen as one of the 21st century's skills. According to literature review, an item pool was established and expert opinion was consulted for the created item pool. The study group of this study consists of 319 students educated at the level of secondary school. As a result of the exploratory factor analysis, the scale consisted of 18 items under four factors. The factors are Reasoning, Abstraction, Decomposition and Generalization. As a result of applied reliability analysis, the Cronbach Alpha reliability coefficient can be seen to be calculated as .884 for the whole self-efficacy scale consisting of 18 items. Confirmative factor analysis results and fit indexes were checked, and fit indexes of the scale were seen to have good and acceptable fits. Based on these findings, the Computational Thinking Self-efficacy Scale is a valid and reliable tool that may be used in measuring to predict Computational Thinking.
This research examines the factors that influence the intention to use information technology in the classroom by primary school teachers based on the Unified Theory of Acceptance and Use of Technology and their technological predisposition. In particular, the relationship between teachers' innovativeness and their beliefs associated with the use of technology in the classroom was analyzed. To this end, 212 teachers from three provinces of Chile were surveyed. Data were analyzed using partial least squares statistical technique. Results indicate that performance expectancy, social influence, and facilitating conditions influence the intention to use information technology in the classroom. It was found that the intention to use construct is a determinant of the use of technology, which validates the robustness of the model in a context of primary education. In addition, it was validated that teachers' innovativeness determines their beliefs about the use of information technology in the classroom.
This paper describes visitor interaction with an interactive tabletop game on the topic of evolutionary adaptations of social insects that we designed in collaboration with a large American museum. We observed visitors playing the game and talked to them about the experience. The game explores the emergent phenomena of ant behavior. Research has shown that such emergent behavior is difficult for people to understand, and that there are different emergent schemas that work best for understanding these phenomena. We tested the visitors pre- and post-gameplay and counted the prevalence of visitors expressing direct and emergent schemas of complex processes. We then considered four hypotheses measuring changes between these schemas and found that two groups shifted their schemas. To better understand this change we provide a qualitative overview of the visitors' interactions. Our exhibit, called Ant Adaptation, takes the form of an agent-based modeling game that integrates complex system learning with gameplay. We video recorded 38 groups (114 participants) playing the game and conducted pre- and post-gameplay interviews. We coded the groups that contained children for this analysis: 9 groups (27 participants). Our results show that visitors held both emergent and direct schemas before and after play, and three people changed from direct schemas before play to emergent schemas after play. We then examine the process of how one of these groups shifted their schemas.
This article presents an experience report regarding the application of an Inclusive Model of Development of Accessible Learning Objects, in the Mathematics discipline, to help 8th year Elementary School children, to perform calculations with natural numbers. The Learning Object was developed using Scratch and accessibility guidelines to include students with disabilities. The model evaluated the learning, teaching, usability, and accessibility of objects. The results demonstrate the efficiency, interaction and improvement in students' performance in Mathematics, through the use of objects in the teaching and learning process.