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) 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.