A systematic review of integrating computational thinking in early childhood education

Jiahong SU, Weipeng YANG

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlespeer-review

Abstract

Computational thinking education has become an increasingly popular topic among practitioners and researchers. However, rare is known how to effectively teach and learn computational thinking in early childhood education. To address this knowledge gap, this systematic review examined 26 studies on the teaching and learning of computational thinking in early childhood education from 2010 to 2022. The content knowledge, tools, pedagogical design, assessment methods, and learning outcomes were analyzed. Results indicated that, with age-appropriate instructional design, children could develop early concepts and skills of computational thinking, as well as other related skills such as communication, collaboration, and problem solving. Across the studies, we found that most studies used quantitative research methods, with direct assessment and observation being the most. Several challenges were identified: (1) achieving a deeper learning of computational thinking; (2) a lack of valid and reliable computational thinking assessments for children with a wider age range; (3) selecting appropriate learning tools; and (4) designing age-appropriate activities for young learners. Although with these challenges, computational thinking education could bring new learning opportunities and enhance children's computational thinking skills, as well as other non-cognitive skills such as critical thinking, body-material interaction, and hand-eye coordination. This systematic review informs future endeavors in theorizing a digital learning framework that can integrate computational thinking into early childhood education. Copyright © 2023 The Authors.
Original languageEnglish
Article number100122
JournalComputers and Education Open
Volume4
Early online dateJan 2023
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2023

Citation

Su, J., & Yang, W. (2023). A systematic review of integrating computational thinking in early childhood education. Computers and Education Open, 4. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1016/j.caeo.2023.100122

Keywords

  • Teaching/learning strategies
  • Pedagogical issues
  • 21st century abilities
  • Early years education
  • Teacher professional development

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