Promoting Computational Thinking in children Using Apps

June 24th, 2017 | RESEARCH

Increasing demand for curricula and programming that supports computational thinking in K-2 settings motivates our research team to investigate how computational thinking can be understood, observed, and supported for this age group. This study has two phases: 1) developing definitions of computational thinking competencies, 2) identifying educational apps that can potentially promote computational thinking. For the first phase, we reviewed literatures and models that identified, defined and/or described computational thinking competencies. Using the model and literature review, we then developed our set of definitions that can be used in K-2 settings. I the second phase, based on the definitions, we the developed the codebook and guiding codebook to code the educational apps. We selected the apps by searching into websites that offer customer’s ranking for the apps, and using our inclusion criteria. This search left us with 41 apps. After the process of reviewing and coding these apps, we identified only 15 apps that we believe can develop and promote computational thinking in our target age (kindergarten through second grade students). The apps and the computational thinking competencies that each promote are listed in this study. The Guiding Codebook and Computational Thinking Index that result from this process can serve as a guide for researchers, administrators, teachers and parents seeking to understand and promote computational thinking for this age group. The apps can be integrated in both formal and informal learning activities. For the next step of this study, we will observe children playing with the apps to investigate what computational thinking competencies look like in children.



Team Members

Hoda Ehsan, Author, Purdue University
Chanel Beebe, Author, Purdue University
Monica Cardella, Principal Investigator, Purdue University


Publication: ASEE 2017 Conference


Funding Source: NSF
Funding Program: STEM+C
Award Number: 1543175

Related URLs

Integrated STEM and Computing Learning in Formal and Informal Settings for Kindergarten to Grade 2


Audience: Educators | Teachers | Elementary School Children (6-10) | Learning Researchers | Museum | ISE Professionals | Pre-K Children (0-5)
Discipline: Computing and information science
Resource Type: Conference Proceedings | Reference Materials
Environment Type: Media and Technology | Websites | Mobile Apps | Online Media

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This material is supported by National Science Foundation award DRL-2229061, with previous support under DRL-1612739, DRL-1842633, DRL-1212803, and DRL-0638981. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations contained within are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of NSF.

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