Students’ confrontation of computational problems : An exploration in gamification and programming concepts

University essay from Malmö universitet/Fakulteten för teknik och samhälle (TS)

Abstract: Computational thinking is a problem-solving skill and is considered to be an important part of today’s digital literacy. As it is an evolving research field and an emerging subject within the K-12 educational systems there’s a need to develop methods and environments for teaching and assessing computational thinking as well as establishing a cohesive view of its definition. A concern with computational thinking is it's neigh synonymity with programming and computer science in a classroom environment as they share several concepts and because programming is an effective way to teach it.  Acknowledging this need for this separation as well as the need for developing educational environments this study explored the aspects of problem-solving and perception of computational problems in different environment.  This was explored through a quantitative study on late-stage K-12 students and how perceived and performed in different types of problem posing environments. These environments included the challenge of using programming concepts through gamification as a way of exploring methods of teaching and assessing computational thinking in a metaphorical and real-life simulated situation.  It wound up measuring the effects that different problems had on the confidence and expertise of computational thinking capabilities within this exploratory experiment. The findings suggest an indication that too much given context can confuse students and that alleviating mental workload is crucial when presenting computational thinking problems if the correct solution should be reached. 

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