The University of Southampton
University of Southampton Institutional Repository

How can the teaching of programming be used to enhance computational thinking skills?

How can the teaching of programming be used to enhance computational thinking skills?
How can the teaching of programming be used to enhance computational thinking skills?
The use of the term computational thinking, introduced in 2006 by Jeanette Wing, is having repercussions in the field of education. The term brings into sharp focus the concept of thinking about problems in a way that can lead to solutions that may be implemented in a computing device. Implementation of these solutions may involve the use of programming languages.

This study explores ways in which programming can be employed as a tool to teach computational thinking and problem solving. Data is collected from teachers, academics, and professionals, purposively selected because of their knowledge of the topics of problem solving, computational thinking, or the teaching of programming. This data is analysed following a grounded theory approach. A Computational Thinking Taxonomy is developed. The relationships between cognitive processes, the pedagogy of programming, and the perceived levels of difficulty of computational thinking skills are illustrated by a model.

Specifically, a definition for computational thinking is presented. The skills identified are mapped to Bloom’s Taxonomy: Cognitive Domain. This mapping concentrates computational skills at the application, analysis, synthesis, and evaluation levels. Analysis of the data indicates that the less difficult computational thinking skills for beginner programmers are generalisation, evaluation, and algorithm design. Abstraction of functionality is less difficult than abstraction of data, but both are perceived as difficult. The most difficult computational thinking skill is reported as decomposition. This ordering of difficulty for learners is a reversal of the cognitive complexity predicted by Bloom’s model. The plausibility of this inconsistency is explored.

The taxonomy, model, and the other results of this study may be used by educators to focus learning onto the computational thinking skills acquired by the learners, while using programming as a tool. They may also be employed in the design of curriculum subjects, such as ICT, computing, or computer science.
University of Southampton
Selby, Cynthia Collins
2dbcf9b4-a826-489e-b84f-51bf440bc5b1
Selby, Cynthia Collins
2dbcf9b4-a826-489e-b84f-51bf440bc5b1
Woollard, William
85f363e3-9708-4740-acf7-3fe0d1845001

Selby, Cynthia Collins (2014) How can the teaching of programming be used to enhance computational thinking skills? University of Southampton, Southampton Education School, Doctoral Thesis, 325pp.

Record type: Thesis (Doctoral)

Abstract

The use of the term computational thinking, introduced in 2006 by Jeanette Wing, is having repercussions in the field of education. The term brings into sharp focus the concept of thinking about problems in a way that can lead to solutions that may be implemented in a computing device. Implementation of these solutions may involve the use of programming languages.

This study explores ways in which programming can be employed as a tool to teach computational thinking and problem solving. Data is collected from teachers, academics, and professionals, purposively selected because of their knowledge of the topics of problem solving, computational thinking, or the teaching of programming. This data is analysed following a grounded theory approach. A Computational Thinking Taxonomy is developed. The relationships between cognitive processes, the pedagogy of programming, and the perceived levels of difficulty of computational thinking skills are illustrated by a model.

Specifically, a definition for computational thinking is presented. The skills identified are mapped to Bloom’s Taxonomy: Cognitive Domain. This mapping concentrates computational skills at the application, analysis, synthesis, and evaluation levels. Analysis of the data indicates that the less difficult computational thinking skills for beginner programmers are generalisation, evaluation, and algorithm design. Abstraction of functionality is less difficult than abstraction of data, but both are perceived as difficult. The most difficult computational thinking skill is reported as decomposition. This ordering of difficulty for learners is a reversal of the cognitive complexity predicted by Bloom’s model. The plausibility of this inconsistency is explored.

The taxonomy, model, and the other results of this study may be used by educators to focus learning onto the computational thinking skills acquired by the learners, while using programming as a tool. They may also be employed in the design of curriculum subjects, such as ICT, computing, or computer science.

Text
Selby mendments - Version of Record
Download (6MB)

More information

Published date: April 2014
Organisations: University of Southampton, Southampton Education School

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 366256
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/366256
PURE UUID: 2a9f1049-0590-4e66-a253-c00cb64ee47f

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 03 Nov 2014 11:40
Last modified: 05 Oct 2018 12:09

Export record

Contributors

Thesis advisor: William Woollard

University divisions

Download statistics

Downloads from ePrints over the past year. Other digital versions may also be available to download e.g. from the publisher's website.

View more statistics

Atom RSS 1.0 RSS 2.0

Contact ePrints Soton: eprints@soton.ac.uk

ePrints Soton supports OAI 2.0 with a base URL of http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/cgi/oai2

This repository has been built using EPrints software, developed at the University of Southampton, but available to everyone to use.

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue without changing your settings, we will assume that you are happy to receive cookies on the University of Southampton website.

×