In the last years, a growing trend in different educational contexts focused on Computational Thinking (CT) skills acquisition for both in-service teachers and students. But very low attention has been paid to pre-service teachers' education in regards to CT skills. To solve this issue, an empirical experimentation has been carried out with141 Italian pre-service teachers, that attended at a programming course, with the following aims: 1) provide them the main coding concepts by using Scratch 2.0; 2) offer practical advice on how to design educational applications (apps) to be applied into school context; 3) assess their apps by applying an already existing methodology, useful to give them feedback on their programming expertise and CT skills. Empirical findings showed that most of the participants achieved a medium-high level of CT skills, combining both design and programming skills in their school internship. Moreover, they reported a sense of greater self-esteem in teaching practice and a great emotional response from kids.
The aim of this study is to investigate perceptions of parents in Croatia towards advantages and disadvantages of computer use in general as well as their children's computer use and to reveal parents' concerns and opinions about digital technology (DT) education in kindergarten. The paper reports on research findings from one of the large public kindergartens in the capital city of Croatia. A total of 152 parents of the children aged 3 to 7 enrolled at this early childhood education institution filled in the survey. Results show that although being very well equipped with digital technology hardware at home (99% of surveyed parents owns a computer, tablet or smartphone), parents feel anxious and are not always willing to allow their children to use DT. Results of our survey reveal young children's ability to use DT, but they also show that mere possession of DT at home and enabling children to use computers does not guarantee development of computer literacy and/or information literacy skills.
Internet and its services have become inherent element of the lives of young people. Nevertheless, we observe that educational potential, which the Internet offers for supporting learning processes, is acknowledged and exploited only partially. On that account, for several years we have been involved in developing investigative on-line activities, highly popular interactive events among students of the Slovak schools. In this way, as a value-added benefit, we have created unique opportunity for us to study how students behave when solving problems in the technology enhanced learning situations, how they communicate and cooperate in the teams, which competencies they cultivate. For such educational research, we have made use of the thoroughly projected combination of the intervention design and qualitative non-participant unstructured observations - within the framework of the design-based research methodology.
In this paper we present our initial assumptions and inspirations, methods of our research work and major observations, we clarify what investigative on-line activities are and how we have collected and analyzed data obtained by observing students while solving the investigative tasks. In our research we have focused on the development of three classes of competencies, namely digital competencies (i.e., those that pertain to the area of general digital literacy), computational competencies (i.e., those that correspond to the goals of informatics in education) and social competencies (i.e., those that allow students to communicate, cooperate, create or evaluate their own doings, learning etc.). In our paper we present corresponding observations and also attitudes and reactions of the teachers - who have been involved merely as supervisors, not as members of the teams. We also summarise potential contribution of our investigative on-line activities to education in the modern society.