This paper investigates unplugged computing as a formal pedagogical strategy to teaching computing to a Maltese secondary class of Year 9 students. It aims at identifying the effectiveness of this pedagogy outlining the strengths and weaknesses in its application, taking into consideration the level of attainment for students, as well as the impact on teachers’ lesson preparation. This research study is based on the delivery of five unplugged activities. It analyses students’ reaction when exposed to such unplugged activities to assess the viability of using this pedagogy when teaching computing concepts in a formal setting. The study concludes that unplugged computing is an effective pedagogical strategy that helps attain a high level of engagement and student involvement, encouraging teamwork and collaboration. Students experience a wide attention span and good retention through the constant link of computing scenarios to real-life examples and the use of tangible non-computing related objects. Notwithstanding, the study also identifies certain limitations of this pedagogy, mainly that it is not sufficient as a standalone pedagogy, but needs to be applied in conjunction with other pedagogies to be able to cover all the expected learning objectives of the curriculum.
In this article we report about a study to assess Dutch teachers' Pedagogical Content Knowledge (\small PCK), with special focus on programming as a topic in secondary school Informatics education. For this research, we developed an online research instrument: the Online Teacher \small PCK Analyser (OTPA). The results show that Dutch teachers' \small PCK scores between low and medium. Also we enquired whether there is any relation between teachers' \small PCK and the textbooks they use by comparing the results of this study with those of a previous one in which the \small PCK of textbooks was assessed. The results show that there is no strong relation. Finally, we looked for trends between teachers' \small PCK and their educational backgrounds, as most of the Dutch teachers have a different background than Informatics. The results show that also in this case there is no strong relation.