A critical review of literature on “unplugged” pedagogies in K-12 computer science and computational thinking education

Wendy HUANG, Chee Kit LOOI

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlespeer-review

41 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Background and Context: Computational thinking (CT) is considered as a valuable literacy for all students, and its inclusion in compulsory schooling could increase the numbers of underrepresented students who pursue computing-related careers. Computer Science Unplugged (CSU) had success in making computer science (CS) accessible to K–12 students in outreach settings. Such “unplugged” approaches have the potential to do the same in formal education. 

Objective: This review considers how research findings on unplugged pedagogies might advance CS/CT education priorities, while highlighting areas of unknown and tension. 

Method: We conducted a search in academic databases using terms +unplugged “computer science” and +unplugged CT, and related terms. 

Findings: We synthesized our review with existing ones to inform the priorities of CS-for-all and CT development. We surfaced CSU’s limitations to broaden access for underrepresented students and suggested a remedy. We proposed 10 research questions that fill key gaps to support efforts that provide just access to quality CS/CT education. Copyright © 2020 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)83-111
JournalComputer Science Education
Volume31
Issue number1
Early online dateJul 2020
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Citation

Huang, W., & Looi, C.-K. (2021). A critical review of literature on “unplugged” pedagogies in K-12 computer science and computational thinking education. Computer Science Education, 31(1), 83-111. doi: 10.1080/08993408.2020.1789411

Keywords

  • Computational thinking
  • Unplugged
  • Computer science education
  • Schools
  • Equity

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