Information technology (IT) is transforming the world. Therefore, exposing students to computing at an early age is important. And, although computing is being introduced into schools, students from a low socio-economic status background still do not have such an opportunity. Furthermore, existing computing programs may need to be adjusted in accordance to the specific characteristics of these students in order to help them to achieve the learning goals. Aiming at bringing computing education to all middle and high-school students, we performed a systematic literature review, in order to analyze the content, pedagogy, technology, as well as the main findings of instructional units that teach computing in this context. First results show that these students are able to learn computing, including concepts ranging from algorithms and programming languages to artificial intelligence. Difficulties are mainly linked to the lack of infrastructure and the lack of pre-existing knowledge in using IT as well as creating computing artifacts. Solutions include centralized teaching in assistive centers as well as a stronger emphasis on unplugged strategies. However, there seems to be a lack of more research on teaching computing to students from a low socio-economic status background, unlocking their potential as well to foster their participation in an increasing IT market.
Although Machine Learning (ML) is used already in our daily lives, few are familiar with the technology. This poses new challenges for students to understand ML, its potential, and limitations as well as to empower them to become creators of intelligent solutions. To effectively guide the learning of ML, this article proposes a scoring rubric for the performance-based assessment of the learning of concepts and practices regarding image classification with artificial neural networks in K-12. The assessment is based on the examination of student-created artifacts as a part of open-ended applications on the use stage of the Use-Modify-Create cycle. An initial evaluation of the scoring rubric through an expert panel demonstrates its internal consistency as well as its correctness and relevance. Providing a first step for the assessment of concepts on image recognition, the results may support the progress of learning ML by providing feedback to students and teachers.
Machine Learning (ML) is becoming increasingly present in our lives. Thus, it is important to introduce ML already in High School, enabling young people to become conscious users and creators of intelligent solutions. Yet, as typically ML is taught only in higher education, there is still a lack of knowledge on how to properly teach younger students. Therefore, in this systematic literature review, we analyze findings on teaching ML in High School with regard to content, pedagogical strategy, and technology. Results show that High School students were able to understand and apply basic ML concepts, algorithms and tasks. Pedagogical strategies focusing on active problem/project-based hands-on approaches were successful in engaging students and demonstrated positive learning effects. Visual as well as text-based programming environments supported students to build ML models in an effective way. Yet, the review also identified the need for more rigorous evaluations on how to teach ML.
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.
Although Machine Learning (ML) has already become part of our daily lives, few are familiar with this technology. Thus, in order to help students to understand ML, its potential, and limitations and to empower them to become creators of intelligent solutions, diverse courses for teaching ML in K-12 have emerged. Yet, a question less considered is how to assess the learning of ML. Therefore, we performed a systematic mapping identifying 27 instructional units, which also present a quantitative assessment of the students’ learning. The simplest assessments range from quizzes to performance-based assessments assessing the learning of basic ML concepts, approaches, and in some cases ethical issues and the impact of ML on lower cognitive levels. Feedback is mostly limited to the indication of the correctness of the answers and only a few assessments are automated. These results indicate a need for more rigorous and comprehensive research in this area.
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.
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.
Teaching computational thinking in K-12 as a 21th century skill is becoming increasingly important. Computational thinking describes a specific way of reasoning building on concepts and processes derived from algorithms and programming. One way to teach these concepts is games as an effective and efficient alternative. This article presents SplashCode, a low-cost board game to reinforce basic algorithms and programming concepts. The game was developed in a systematic way following an instructional design process, and applied and evaluated in a Brazilian public school with a total of 65 students (grade 5 to 9). First results indicate that the game can have a positive impact on motivation, learning experience, and students' learning, as well as contribute positively to social interaction, relevance, and fun. Results of this study may assist in the selection of games as an instructional strategy and/or in the development of new games for teaching computational thinking.
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.