Conference paper

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Publication Details
Author list: Humble, Niklas
Publisher: The International Academy of Technology, Education and Development
Publication year: 2020
Start page: 7188
End page: 7195
Number of pages: 8
ISBN: 978-84-09-17979-4


In recent years, programming has been integrated in many countries K-12 education. A common reason given for this integration is that programming will help students develop computational thinking. There are many programming tools available for teachers to use in integrating programming in their teaching and learning activities. The programming tools that are typically associated with programming activities are the ones called ‘textual programming tools’. The aim of this research was to analyse and discuss challenges and opportunities in using textual programming tools to develop computational thinking skills in K-12 education.

The research was carried out as a literature review with a search filter set on a time frame for publications between 2015 and 2020, exceptions were made for backward-searches. The main keywords used in the literature search was: textual programming, computational thinking, education, K-12, challenges, opportunities. These were combined with the Boolean operators ‘and’ and ‘or’. Content analysis with a mixture of deductive and inductive coding was used to analyse the collected data and structure the findings according to a theoretical framework by Shute, Sun and Asbell-Clarke [20] and group them in challenges and opportunities.

The findings show both challenges and opportunities in developing computational thinking skills through textual programming tools. Some of these can be applicable to programming tools in general, while other are more specific to the textual programming tools. Some of the challenges are that textual programming tools often have a high threshold for novice programmers and are perceived as difficult, which might hinder the development of computational thinking skills. Some of the opportunities are that textual programming tools often are flexible and perceived as authentic programming, which might motivate the development of computational thinking skills.

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