Computational Thinking Unplugged: Comparing the Impact on Confidence and Competence from Analog and Digital Resources in Computer Science Professional Development for Elementary Teachers
Date of Award
Doctor of Education (EdD)
The demand for computer science instruction is increasing across the K-12 spectrum, but in many cases elementary teachers are ill prepared to teach the subject. Based on prior research showing a preference for analog interfaces, this study compared the impact of analog and digital interface modalities on teachers’ confidence and competence gains in professional development on computational thinking conceived within the framework of cognitive acceleration. The analog group used the Robot Turtles board game and the digital group used the Scratch Jr. app on iPads while receiving the same professional development content. A single-case experimental design approach with a multiple-baseline approach to establish control and appropriate randomization techniques was used to allow for generalization of findings and identification of a functional relationship. Teachers were assessed using the Elementary Teacher Computer Programming Self-Efficacy Scale for confidence and the Computational Thinking Test for competence. The results indicated a significant and higher effect size on confidence for the analog cases as compared to the digital. Visual analysis confirmed these findings and provided emerging support for a functional relationship. Recommendations for modifications to current professional development, classroom instruction, and policy making practices to adopt an analog-first approach to computer science based on the foundational concepts of computational thinking were identified based on these findings.
Harris, Christopher, "Computational Thinking Unplugged: Comparing the Impact on Confidence and Competence from Analog and Digital Resources in Computer Science Professional Development for Elementary Teachers" (2018). Education Doctoral. Paper 374.
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