We live in a digital age, not least accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic. It is all the more important in our society that students learn and master the key competence of algorithmic thinking to understand the informatics concepts behind every digital phenomena and thus is able to actively shape the future. For this to be successful, concepts must be identified that can convey this key competence to all students in such a way that algorithmic thinking is integrated in the subject of informatics - beyond a pure programming course. Furthermore, based on the Legitimation Code Theory, semantic waves provide a way to develop and review lesson plans. Therefore, we planned a workshop, that follow the phases of a semantic wave addressing algorithmic problems using a blockbased programming language. Considering this, we suggest the so-called SWAT concept (Semantic Wave Algorithmic Thinking concept), which is carried out and analyzed in a workshop with students. The workshop was carried out in online format in an 8th grade of a high school during a coronavirus lockdown. The level of algorithmic thinking was measured using a pretest and posttest both in the treatment group and in a control group and with the help of the approximate adjusted fractional Bayes factors for testing informative hypotheses statistically and through a reductive, qualitative content analysis of the students’ work results (worksheets and created programs) evaluated. The semantic wave concept was measured using several cognitive load ratings of the students during the workshop and also statistically evaluated with the approximate adjusted fractional Bayes factors for testing informative hypotheses, as well as a qualitative content analysis of the worksheets. Results of this pilot study provide first insights, that the SWAT-concept can be used in combination of unplugged and plugged parts.
At 21st century Computational Thinking (CT) is considered a fundamental skill that anyone should possess and develop from a young age. Serious games and more specifically educational games (EGs) are a promising means of introducing algorithmic thinking and programming concepts and engaging students through the process of learning. In this article, a new EG called BlocklyScript is presented. BlocklyScript aims to help students develop their CT by learning basic programming concepts, designing algorithms and correcting mistakes. During the designing phase different EGs were taken under consideration and an EG design framework was followed in order to provide a better user experience. The game was evaluated by 10 experienced computer science educators of primary and secondary schools. The positive results of this pilot evaluation show that BlocklyScript is expected to help students understand the basic concepts of CT. However, the game should be evaluated by more teachers and students in order to provide future researchers with safe results.
A recent report by the joint Informatics Europe & ACM Europe Working Group on Informatics Education emphasizes that: (1) computational thinking is an important ability that all people should possess; (2) informatics-based concepts, abilities and skills are teachable, and must be included in the primary and particularly in the secondary school curriculum. Accordingly, the "2013 Best Practices in Education Award" (organized by Informatics Europe) was devoted to initiatives promoting Informatics Education in Primary and Secondary Schools. In this paper we present one of the winning projects: "Multi-Sensory Informatics Education". We have developed effective multi-sensory methods and software-tools to improve the teaching-learning process of elementary, sorting and recursive algorithms. The technologically and artistically enhanced learning environment we present has also the potential to promote intercultural computer science education and the algorithmic thinking of both science- and humanities-oriented learners.