This study investigates the effect of programming courses on the computational thinking (CT) skills of elementary school students and the learning effectiveness of students from different backgrounds who are studying programming. We designed a OwlSpace programming course into an elementary school curriculum. Students in fourth and fifth grades were taught the fundamentals of programming. We measured and analyzed the effectiveness of their CT skills and self-efficacy in CT. The researchers analyzed the changes in the CT of different gender, different grade, and different past experience students in programming courses and then made specific recommendations for information technigy teachers and related units. The results demonstrate that students learned and improved their CT skills by taking OwlSpace programming course. Additionally, gender, grade, and past experience are found to have no impact on the students’ learning that means the course can improve students ability without limited any characteristics.
There is an increasing interest in the integration of computational thinking (CT) in the K-12 curriculum. By integrating CT into other disciplines, the aim is to equip students with essential skills to navigate domain-specific challenges. This study conducts a systematic review of 108 peer-reviewed scientific papers to analyze in which K-12 subjects CT is being integrated, learning objectives, CT integration levels, instructional strategies, technologies and tools employed, assessment strategies, research designs and educational stages of participants. The findings reveal that: (a) over two-thirds of the CT integration studies predominantly focus on science and mathematics; (b) the majority of the studies implement CT at the substitution level rather than achieving a transformation impact; (c) active learning is a commonly mentioned instructional strategy, with block-based languages and physical devices being frequently utilized tools; (d) in terms of assessment, the emphasis primarily lies in evaluating attitudes towards technology or the learning context, rather than developing valid and reliable assessment instruments. These findings shed light on the current state of CT integration in K-12 education. The identified trends provide valuable insights for educators, curriculum designers, and policymakers seeking to effectively incorporate CT across various disciplines in a manner that fosters meaningful skill development with an interdisciplinary approach. By leveraging these insights, we can strive to enhance CT integration efforts, ensuring the holistic development of students' computational thinking abilities and promoting their preparedness for the increasingly interdisciplinary domains of digital world.
When it comes to mastering the digital world, the education system is more and more facing the task of making students competent and self-determined agents when interacting with digital artefacts. This task often falls to computing education. In the traditional fields of computing education, a plethora of models, guidelines, and principles exist, which help scholars and teachers identify what the relevant aspects are and which of them one should cover in the classroom. When it comes to explaining the world of digital artefacts, however, there is hardly any such guiding model. The ARIadne model introduced in this paper provides a means of explanation and exploration of digital artefacts which help teachers and students to do a subject analysis of digital artefacts by scrutinizing them from several perspectives. Instead of artificially separating aspects which target the same phenomena within different areas of education (like computing, ICT or media education), the model integrates technological aspects of digital artefacts and the relevant societal discourses of their usage, their impacts and the reasons behind their development into a coherent explanation model.
In this paper, we present an activity to introduce the idea of public-key cryptography and to make pre-service STEM teachers explore fundamental informatics and mathematical concepts and methods. We follow the Theory of Didactical Situations within the Didactical Engineering methodology (both widely used in mathematics education research) to design and analyse a didactical situation about asymmetric cryptography using graphs. Following the phases of Didactical Engineering, after the preliminary analysis of the content, the constraints and conditions of the teaching context, we conceived and analysed the situation a priori, with a particular focus on the milieu (the set of elements students can interact with) and on the choices for the didactical variables. We discuss their impact on the problem-solving strategies the participants need to elaborate to decrypt an encrypted message. We implemented our situation and collected qualitative data. We then analysed a posteriori the different stategies that participants used. The comparison of the a posteriori analysis with the a priori analysis showed the learning potential of the activity. To elaborate on different problem-solving strategies, the participants need to explore and understand several concepts and methods from mathematics, informatics, and the frontier of the two disciplines, also moving between different semiotic registers.
There can be many reasons why students fail to answer correctly to summative tests in advanced computer science courses: often the cause is a lack of prerequisites or misconceptions about topics presented in previous courses. One of the ITiCSE 2020 working groups investigated the possibility of designing assessments suitable for differentiating between fragilities in prerequisites (in particular, knowledge and skills related to introductory programming courses) and advanced topics. This paper reports on an empirical evaluation of an instrument focusing on data structures, among those proposed by the ITiCSE working group. The evaluation aimed at understanding what fragile knowledge and skills the instrument is actually able to detect and to what extent it is able to differentiate them. Our results support that the instrument is able to distinguish between some specific fragilities (e.g., value vs. reference semantics), but not all of those claimed in the original report. In addition, our findings highlight the role of relevant skills at a level between prerequisite and advanced skills, such as program comprehension and reasoning about constraints. We also suggest ways to improve the questions in the instrument, both by improving the distractors of the multiple choice questions, and by slightly changing the content or phrasing of the questions. We argue that these improvements will increase the effectiveness of the instrument in assessing prerequisites as a whole, but also to pinpoint specific fragilities.
Educational data mining is widely deployed to extract valuable information and patterns from academic data. This research explores new features that can help predict the future performance of undergraduate students and identify at-risk students early on. It answers some crucial and intuitive questions that are not addressed by previous studies. Most of the existing research is conducted on data from 2-3 years in an absolute grading scheme. We examined the effects of historical academic data of 15 years on predictive modeling. Additionally, we explore the performance of undergraduate students in a relative grading scheme and examine the effects of grades in core courses and initial semesters on future performances. As a pilot study, we analyzed the academic performance of Computer Science university students. Many exciting discoveries were made; the duration and size of the historical data play a significant role in predicting future performance, mainly due to changes in curriculum, faculty, society, and evolving trends. Furthermore, predicting grades in advanced courses based on initial pre-requisite courses is challenging in a relative grading scheme, as students’ performance depends not only on their efforts but also on their peers. In short, educational data mining can come to the rescue by uncovering valuable insights from academic data to predict future performance and identify the critical areas that need significant improvement.
Even though working with data is as important as coding for understanding and dealing with complex problems across multiple fields, it has received very little attention in the context of Computational Thinking. This paper discusses an approach for bridging the gap between Computational Thinking with Data Science by employing and studying classification as a higher-order thinking process that connects the two. To achieve that, we designed and developed an online constructionist gaming tool called SorBET which integrates coding and database design enabling students to interpret, organize, and analyze data through game play and game design. The paper presents and discusses the results of a pilot study that aimed to investigate the data practices secondary students develop through playing and modifying SorBET games, and to determine the impact of game modding on student critical engagement with CT. According to the results, students developed and used certain data practices such as data interpretation and data model design to become better players or to design an interesting classification game. Moreover, game modding process motivated students to question the original games’ content, leading them to develop a critical stance towards the game data model and representations.
This study investigated the effects of 3D model building activities with block codes on students' spatial thinking and computational thinking skills. The study group consists of 5th grade students in a secondary school in the Central Anatolia region of Turkey. For the study, a pretest-posttest control group was utilized within the experimental design. A total of 66 students participated, 23 in the experimental group and 43 in the control group. While the activities prepared on the Tinkercad platform were applied in the experimental group, the courses were taught using the traditional teaching method in the control group. The study covers a period of three-weeks in the course information technologies and software. The study used the computational thinking levels scale and spatial thinking test scales as data collection instruments. The data was analyzed using both descriptive statistics and independent samples t-tests. Based on the study findings, there were no significant differences observed in the levels of computational thinking skills levels and spatial thinking test scores between the experimental and control groups.
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.
While Internet of Things (IoT) devices have increased in popularity and usage, their users have become more susceptible to cyber-attacks, thus emphasizing the need to manage the resulting security risks. However, existing works reveal research gaps in IoT security risk management frameworks where the IoT architecture – building blocks of the system – are not adequately considered for analysis. Also, security risk management includes complex tasks requiring appropriate training and teaching methods to be applied effectively. To address these points, we first proposed a security risk management framework that captures the IoT architecture perspective as an input to further security risk management activities. We then proposed a hackathon learning model as a practical approach to teach hackathon participants to apply the IoT security risk management framework. To evaluate the benefits of the framework and the hackathon learning model, we conducted an action research study that integrated the hackathon learning model into a cybersecurity course, where students learn how to apply the framework. Our findings show that the IoT-SRM framework was beneficial in guiding students towards IoT security risk management and producing repeatable outcomes. Additionally, the study demonstrated the applicability of the hackathon model and its interventions in supporting the learning of IoT security risk management and applying the proposed framework to real-world scenarios.