Computational thinking is becoming common in K-12 curricula, and at the same time there is interest in how STEM subjects can be integrated with the Arts (referred to as STEAM). There are some obvious connections between music and computation, but the idea of engaging with genuine computational thinking while also having authentic music learning experiences for students provides new opportunities.
In this paper we consider ways to explore computational thinking ideas such as decomposition, patterns, abstraction and algorithms in a meaningful way while also exploring key concepts that a music educator would expect to work with. We review some existing ideas for doing this, and also provide novel approaches that connect computational thinking and music. This is done through a series of vignettes that describe creative ways to connect the two subjects using approaches that have been used successfully with school students.
The first approach is based on the use of comparisons in sorting, which can be used to have students physically compare musical elements such as note pitches. The second uses simple programming on physical devices to represent music notation. Further examples include exploring binary representations using sound, writing programs for musical scales, understanding musical phrases in the context of programming, and using programming for music composition.
Integrating the opportunity to learn about computational thinking and music at the same time has the benefit that some efficiency can be gained in teaching, but more importantly, students are able to experience the relevance of these two subjects to each other, when they might otherwise pigeonhole them into separate areas of their lives.
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.
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.
Coding and computational thinking have recently become compulsory skills in many school systems globally. Teaching these new skills presents a challenge for many teachers. A notable example of professional development designed using Constructionist principles to address this challenge is ScratchEd. Upon reflecting on her experiences designing and running ScratchEd, Karen Brennan identified five tensions faced by professional development providers, and proposed that these tensions could be used for scrutinising and critiquing professional development. In this paper we analyse, through the lens of Brennan's tensions, the process we have followed to design, evaluate and improve professional development. We argue that while we have experienced the same tensions, the extent to which we assess learning is a new tension that extends those identified by Brennan. There are strong reasons to assess teachers' knowledge, however, quantitative measures of learning could be at odds with Constructionism: as Papert argued in Mindstorms, constructionist educators should study their learning environments as anthropologists. Consequently, we have called this new tension the tension between anthropology and assessment.
Many countries have focused on the improvement of education system performance. Small number of studies consider system of a country as unit of assessment where indicators represent all levels of education system. In the paper, we propose the methodology for the performance analysis of education systems as a whole hybridizing Data Envelopment Analysis and Principal Component Analysis. Its applicability is illustrated by the analysis of the data collected for 29 European countries. In the analysis we used publicly available data from EUROSTAT and OECD which European Commission uses for the performance monitoring of education in European Union. No prior assumptions were made or expert judgements included. We demonstrated good performance of the method on limited data set. The proposed methodology of hybrid Data Envelopment Analysis and Principal Component Analysis allows researchers analyse education systems quantitatively. The recommendations for improvements and assessment of real world education systems should be based on the analysis of a sufficiently large data set comprehensively representing the considered education systems.
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.
Amount of educational data has been constantly increasing for years in all domains and kinds of education (formal or informal) and educational activities (teaching, learning, assessment, use of social media and collaboration and so on). Accordingly, Learning Analytics (LA) become a powerful mechanism for supporting learners, instructors, teachers, learning system designers and developers to better understand educational processes and predict learners' needs and performances. In this paper, we analyze the important dimensions and objectives of LA, application possibilities and some challenges to the beneficial exploitation of educational data. The required skills and capabilities that make meaningful use of LA techniques and technologies in this domain are considered and identified. Presented findings can act as a valuable guide for setting up LA services in support of educational practice. Also, they can be used as learner guidance, in quality assurance, curriculum development, and in improving learning process effectiveness and efficiency. Finally, this paper proposes the unavoidable constraints that affect LA technologies in education.
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.
During the last decade, coding has come to the foreground of educational trends as a strong mean for developing students' Computational Thinking (or CT). However, there is still limited research that looks at coding and Computational Thinking activities through the lens of constructionism. In this paper, we discuss how the knowledge we already have from other thinking paradigms and pedagogical theories, such as constructionism and mathematical thinking, can inform new integrated designs for the cultivation of Computational Thinking. In this context, we explore students' engagement with MaLT (Machine Lab Turtle-sphere), an online environment of our design that integrates Logo textual programming with the affordances of dynamic manipulation, 3D graphics and camera navigation. We also present a study on how the integration of the above affordances can promote constructionist learning and lead to the development of CT skills along with the generation of meanings about programming concepts.
This longitudinal study investigates the impact of an extra-curricular programming workshop in student interest development in computer science. The workshop was targeted at 12-18-year old youngsters. A survey was sent to all previous participants with a known home address; 31.5% responded the survey (n = 197). This data was then combined with pre-workshop survey data, and analyzed with mixed methods. Positive development of interest was discovered for 57% of the respondents, of which nearly all attributed their interest increase to the workshop at least partly (92%). Qualitative inspection revealed that the workshop provided three anchors that facilitated students' reengagement with programming and development of interest: disciplinary content, a concrete artifact built by students themselves, and tools. Neutral development and interest regress were also discovered, though the impact of the workshop on these interest trajectories remains unclear.