How do young students get enthusiastic about computational thinking activities?
This paper presents a study of the emotions that are produced in pre-university students when performing Computational Thinking activities. In the absence of an official document that deals what content of Computational Thinking should be taught at the national level, we carefully selected a set of activities called Piens@ Computacion@ULLmente, that provides a methodology to promote Computer Science through Computational Thinking skills among primary and secondary education students. The training phase of said methodology consists of a set of both plugged and unplugged Computational Thinking activities adapted for gender inclusiveness, which have been designed and scheduled in five sessions lasting four hours each, involving primary (8-9 years old) and secondary education (12-13 years old). Half of each session was conducted face-to-face in the schools, which allowed us to introduce and carry out the activities directly with the students. The other half of each session was done in school under the supervision of the teachers, or at home by the students through self-study.
We also designed two alternative training roadmaps based on two different learning strategies: The called ‘Guided learning’ focuses on developing Computational Thinking by introducing basic concepts and principles, in such a way that an example is introduced and solved step by step. Once the fundamentals are explained through an example, the students can try to apply a similar process to solve another problem. And the ‘Discovery learning’ focuses on tools that can be used to put Computational Thinking into practice. It provides students greater freedom to carry out the exercise, in such a way that they learn to use these tools autonomously, through trial and error mechanisms. An interspersed of both strategies are compared: The ‘Guided-Discovery’ - GuiD - strategy consists of two sessions with a guided methodology and three with the discovery one. As for the ‘Discovery-Guided’ - DisG - strategy, it is the reverse and consists of carrying out three activities per discovery and then two guided ones.
The instrument used to measure emotions has been the "Developmental Channels Questionnaire". Regarding the identification of emotions in the proposed activities, whatever the strategy, it is concluded that positive and ambiguous emotions are mainly produced with intensity values of 6.62 and 6.37 on average respectively, while negative emotions have a relatively low intensity with an average of 1.99 out of 10.0. It is concluded that at the primary educational level, similar positive, negative and ambiguous emotions can be found between both genders without finding significant differences. At the secondary level, however, there are differences between gender. It is observed that the girls present more important changes in this type of sessions while the boys hardly evolve emotionally in this aspect.
Also a study related to the perceptions of Computer Science have been conducted with the primary students. A test has been carried out before the start of the activities (pre-test) and another one at the end (post-test) with which it has been possible to compare the variation generated in the students as a result of carrying out Computational Thinking activities. Mostly, a positive variation has been observed in their perception of Computer Science, and regarding the two strategies used, no significant differences were observed.
Herrero Álvarez, R., León, C., Miranda, G., Segredo, E., Socas, Ó., Cuellar-Moreno, M., …Díaz, Y. (2021). How do young students get enthusiastic about computational thinking activities?. In EDULEARN21 Proceedings. https://doi.org/10.21125/edulearn.2021.0199
|Conference Name||13th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies|
|Start Date||Jul 5, 2021|
|End Date||Jul 6, 2021|
|Deposit Date||Feb 2, 2022|
|Book Title||EDULEARN21 Proceedings|
|Keywords||computational thinking, emotions, computer science, primary education, secondary education|
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