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Participants in 2017 workshop.

Participants in 2017 workshop.

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Article
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Coding and computational thinking have recently become compulsory skills in many school systems globally. Teaching these new skills presents a challenge for many teachers. A notable example of professional development designed using Constructionist principles to address this challenge is ScratchEd. Upon reflecting on her experiences designing and r...

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Thesis
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The quality of learning goes hand in hand with the quality of learning spaces. This thesis sought to establish the qualities of an ideal learning space by examining the primary user, different pedagogies, and 21st-century learning needs. It seeks to promote the theory that aligning pedagogy, the child’s psychology, and the 21st century needs to the...

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... Brennan identified five sets of tensions in CS PD to design and evaluate PD programs. Hickmott and Prieto-Rodriguez (2018) further identified an extra tension beyond the five tensions to enhance the constructivist learning experience. ...
... These programs valued in-person interactions and believed that online PLCs could not replicate the engagement, teachers' confidence building, and buy-in that resulted from in-person interactions. For example, Hickmott and Prieto-Rodriguez (2018) reported that face-to-face PD was particularly important for novice CS teachers and teachers with low confidence. In hybrid PLCs, face-to-face and online activities can complement each other to provide a better professional learning experience. ...
Article
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Background & Context Many efforts have been dedicated to building computer science (CS) teacher capacity through offering professional development (PD) programs. Previous reviews indicated the need to offer more continual support for teachers. Recent research has shifted its focus to scaling up PD and sustaining teaching capacity by establishing PLCs for CS teachers. Objective This study aims to conduct a systematic literature review of recent research on K-12 CS teacher PD, with an explicit exploration of PLCs. Method Based on 48 selected articles of 41 programs, this study explored features that contributed to the effectiveness of PD, including (1) PD goals, (2) theoretical frameworks and PD models, (3) curriculum and pedagogy, (4) programming tools, (5) program structure and approach, and (6) PD evaluation. We also examined whether and how these programs were dedicated to establishing PLCs. Findings Findings indicate a considerable increase in the number of studies on CS teacher PD . More programs saw the promising roles of PLCs and explored a variety of approaches for community building and promoting teacher learning. Implications PLCs have immense potential for teacher development, including breaking teacher isolation and fostering collaboration. More research can enlighten the efforts for CS teacher preparation and development.
... A prevalent indirect approach in previous research focuses on measuring the outcome from practicing computational tasks. For example, an increase in skills that can be observed by means of a pretest-posttest [20,21,22,23,24,25,26,27,28,29,30,31,32,33,34,35,36,37]. ...
... Use combine to find the mean of data" -"Acting on input data algorithmically. Controlling multiple outputs" [32] "Professional learning communities" (professional teachers) -"Tension between Tool and Learning" -"Tension between Direction and Discovery" -"Tension between Individual and Group" -"Tension between Expert and Novice" -"Tension between Actual and Aspirational" -"Tension between Anthropology and Assessment" [33] "Tutorial-Based Learning" (elementary school) -"Introduction to computational thinking and algorithms" -"Introduction to programming concepts (such as succession, variables and expressions)" -"String operations" -"Conditional statements" -"Repetition" -"Procedures and functions" -"Lists (voluntary tutorial)" [34] "Low Cost Entry to Computational Thinking" ("youth") -"Conditional Logic" -"Advanced Conditional Logic" -"Parallelism" [35] Classroom (K-12) -"Iterated function system fractals" [36] Case Studies (unreported) -"Introduction of background material required by the student to understand the statement of the problem and its solution" -"Clear statement of the problem" -"A sample of the program/user dialog to provide the student with test data" -"A collection of computational/critical thinking questions which are keyed to the program listing" -"The program listing with code segments strategically elided which become the student's responsibility (aka, 'missing code')" [37] ...
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This dissertation investigates the role of learners’ affect during instructional activities of visual and musical computing. More specifically, learners’ enjoyment, excitement, and motivation are measured before and after a computing activity offered in four distinct ways. The computing activities are based on a prototype instructional apparatus, which was designed and fabricated for the practice of computational thinking. A study was performed using a virtual simulation accessible via internet browser. The study suggests that maintaining enjoyment during instructional activities is a more direct path to academic motivation than excitement.
... Thus, it becomes increasingly important to support teachers in learning about and implementing CT, but little is known about how to help teachers with this integration (Sands et al., 2018). Additionally, various tensions can arise while supporting teachers to implement constructionist learning environments, such as the tension between time spent learning computational tools versus learning constructionist principles and pedagogy, the tension between the aspirational aspects of constructionism and the curricular constraints teachers face, and the tension of whether or not to assess teachers' CT when this can undermine the constructionist nature of a learning environment (Brennan, 2015;Hickmott & Prieto-Rodriguez, 2018). While recent work has emerged on supporting teacher understanding of CT (Hestness et al., 2018;Ketelhut et al., 2020;Yadav et al., 2014) and negotiating the tensions in supporting constructionism in schools (Brennan, 2015;Hickmott & Prieto-Rodriguez, 2018), more work is needed to better understand how to support teacher learning and enactment of CT and constructionist pedagogies, particularly in the context of high school science and mathematics. ...
... Additionally, various tensions can arise while supporting teachers to implement constructionist learning environments, such as the tension between time spent learning computational tools versus learning constructionist principles and pedagogy, the tension between the aspirational aspects of constructionism and the curricular constraints teachers face, and the tension of whether or not to assess teachers' CT when this can undermine the constructionist nature of a learning environment (Brennan, 2015;Hickmott & Prieto-Rodriguez, 2018). While recent work has emerged on supporting teacher understanding of CT (Hestness et al., 2018;Ketelhut et al., 2020;Yadav et al., 2014) and negotiating the tensions in supporting constructionism in schools (Brennan, 2015;Hickmott & Prieto-Rodriguez, 2018), more work is needed to better understand how to support teacher learning and enactment of CT and constructionist pedagogies, particularly in the context of high school science and mathematics. ...
Article
This article reports on the first iteration of the Computational Thinking Summer Institute, a month-long program in which high school teachers co-designed computationally enhanced mathematics and science curricula with researchers. The co-design process itself was a constructionist learning experience for teachers resulting in constructionist curricula to be used in their own classrooms. We present three case studies to illustrate different ways teachers and researchers divided the labor of co-design and the implications of these different co-design styles for teacher learning and classroom enactment. Specifically, some teachers programmed their own computational tools, while others helped conceptualize them but left the construction to their co-design partners. Results indicate that constructionist co-design is a promising dual approach to curriculum and professional development but that sometimes these two goals are in tension. Most teachers gained considerable confidence and skills in computational thinking, but sometimes the pressure to finish curriculum development during the institute led teachers to leave construction of computational tools to their co-design partners, limiting their own opportunities for computational learning.
... Preparing teachers to capably deliver CT in relation to programming is a challenge (Hickmott & Prieto-Rodriguez, 2018;Menekse, 2015;Mouza et al., 2018) because many teachers lack the necessary background knowledge in CS (Yadav et al., 2016), and even those who have majored in CS or a related discipline might not be familiar with the use of block-based programming environments (Hubbard, 2018). ...
Article
The implementation of effective professional development courses for K-12 teachers on computational thinking (CT) in relation to programming remains a challenge. There is a lack of high-quality empirical research on teacher development in CT in relation to programming. This study addressed that situation by providing empirical evidence of the design and evaluation of such a teacher development program in primary schools. Seventy-six in-service teachers participated in a program comprising two 39-h courses. One course focused on the fundamental subject knowledge of programming for CT development together with pedagogy. The other focused on the development of advanced knowledge while providing opportunities to practice teaching in the classroom and to reflect on the practice. The results indicate that the participants developed a better understanding of CT concepts and practices and improved in three of the four content knowledge related dimensions of technological pedagogical content knowledge (TPACK) across the two courses. The three dimensions were content knowledge of programming for CT development, technological content knowledge of the use of block-based programming environments for programming for CT development, and use of the environment to teach programming for CT development with the appropriate pedagogy in context. Analysis of the participants' self-reported reflections suggested that the two courses and the teaching experience acquired during the prolonged second course were the two main sources of improvement. This study demonstrates the importance of providing an effective teacher development program with a focus on CT concepts and practices. The program offers teachers a sustained period in which to practice in the classroom and reflect on their teaching while developing their capacity to implement CT in relation to programming.
... While scholars since Papert (Brennan, 2015;Hickmott & Prieto-Rodriguez, 2018) have noted the tensions between quantitative assessment of learning and a constructionist environment such as the makerspace, tuning our attention to noticing creative and emergent learning can mediate that tension. Allowing for and being attentive to emergent CT can provide educators with opportunities to nurture that emergence with further creative and enriched CT inquiries. ...
Article
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Computational thinking (CT) has been hailed as a necessary competency that should be incorporated across the curriculum; however, research shows that CT is generally corifined within programming curriculums. If we are to foster CT in areas like the humanities, we must extend our understanding of CT to include emergent and creative expressions of computational concepts. We explore the makerspace as a fertile environment for experimentation and play with CT concepts, which can then be extended through creative writing and imaginative extrapolation, during which learners metabolize and imaginatively project computational thinking beyond the corifines of the actual and into rich potentiality.
... The quantitative assessment of CT may be contradictory to the initial anthropological views of constructivism, which proposed the idea that learning is the active construction of meaning rather than the simple internalisation of knowledge [30] and can therefore not adequately be measured by assessing individual, prespecified learning outcomes. However, educators should monitor learning outcomes to assess the quality of the used educational material [33]. ...
Conference Paper
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Coding as a practical skill and computational thinking (CT) as a cognitive ability have become an important topic in education and research. It has been suggested that CT, as an early predictor of academic success, should be introduced and fostered early in education. However, there is no consensus on the underlying cognitive correlates of CT in young elementary school children. Therefore, the present work aimed at (i) assessing CT and investigating its associations to established cognitive abilities, and (ii) evaluating a newly developed CT course for elementary school children. As such, 31 7-10-year-old children took part in 10 lessons of a structured CT course. The course aimed at introducing and fostering CT concepts in both unplugged and plugged-in ways, incorporating life-size board games, Scratch, Scratch for Arduino, and Open Roberta programming environments. In a pre-/post-test design, we assessed several cognitive abilities using standardized tests on nonverbal-visuospatial and verbal reasoning abilities, numeracy, as well as short-term memory, and measured CT using an adapted version of the only existing validated test CTt, to accommodate it to the younger sample. We identified significant associations between CT and nonverbal-visuospatial reasoning, as well as different aspects of numeracy (e.g., fact retrieval and problem completion). In line with recent theoretical accounts and empirical investigations for other age groups, these findings specify the underlying cognitive mechanism of CT in elementary school. Moreover, our results indicated that students were able to specifically improve their CT abilities through the course, as assessed by the adapted version of the CTt.
Article
Computational Thinking (CT) through programming attracts increased attention as it is considered an ideal medium for the development of 21st century skills. This intense attention leads to K-12 initiatives around the world and a rapid increase in relevant research studies. However, studies show challenges in CT research and educational practice. In addition, the domain has not been mapped to facilitate comprehensive understanding of the domain challenges and development of CT curricula. The purpose of this study is to develop a conceptual model based on a systematic literature review that maps the CT through programming in K-12 education domain. The proposed Computational Thinking through Programming in K-12 education (CTPK-12) conceptual model emerges from the synthesis of 101 studies and the identification of CT Areas. The proposed model consists of six CT Areas (namely Knowledge Base, Learning Strategies, Assessment, Tools, Factors and Capacity Building) and their relationships. The model could aid domain understanding and serve as a basis for future research studies. In addition, it could support the integration of CT into K-12 educational practices, providing evidence to educational stakeholders and researchers as well as bringing closer research, practice and policy.