Teacher development in computational thinking: Design and learning outcomes of programming concepts, practices and pedagogy

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Abstract

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. Copyright © 2020 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Article number103872
JournalComputers and Education
Volume151
Early online dateMar 2020
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2020

Citation

Kong, S.-C., Lai, M., & Sun, D. (2020). Teacher development in computational thinking: Design and learning outcomes of programming concepts, practices and pedagogy. Computers & Education, 151. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1016/j.compedu.2020.103872

Keywords

  • Computational thinking
  • CT concepts
  • CT practices
  • Teacher development
  • TPACK

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