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Computational thinking in the Danish high school: Learning coding, modeling, and content knowledge with Netlogo

Research output: Contribution to book/anthology/report/proceedingArticle in proceedingsResearchpeer-review


Computational thinking (CT) is emerging as an important theme in computer science and high school education. However, research is needed to inform high-school teachers how to foster students' development of CT in computer science and other subjects. Evidence suggests that agent-based modeling is a valuable way for students to learn CT in different subjects. This paper reports a teaching experiment where researchers, developers, and high school teachers collaborated to develop six NetLogo models. The models were used in nine Danish High Schools in the following four subjects: Biotechnology, chemistry, biology, and social science. Teachers and students had no or very limited experience with programming. Students build CT and content knowledge by using, modifying, and creating code in the models. This paper provides details for others to adopt the models and the underlying CMC framework, which integrates: Coding, Modeling, and Content. The paper evaluates the results from an open-ended questionnaire with all participating students (n=210) and semi-structured interviews with all teachers (n=15). Thematic analysis was applied to categorize the qualitative data. Results showed that students were able to use, modify, and create code in NetLogo that enabled them to develop CT and content knowledge. The CMC framework represents a fruitful way for teachers to design and teach and for students to tinker with learning CT.

Translated title of the contributionComputational Thinking i det danske gymnasium: Læring af kode, modellering og faglig viden via Netlogo
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSIGCSE 2019 - Proceedings of the 50th ACM Technical Symposium on Computer Science Education
Number of pages6
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery
Publication year22 Feb 2019
ISBN (print)978-1-4503-5890-3
Publication statusPublished - 22 Feb 2019
Event50th ACM Technical Symposium on Computer Science Education, SIGCSE 2019 - Minneapolis, United States
Duration: 27 Feb 20192 Mar 2019


Conference50th ACM Technical Symposium on Computer Science Education, SIGCSE 2019
LandUnited States

    Research areas

  • Computational thinking, Computer models, Educational intervention, K-12 education, Teacher professional development, CCTD, #CCTD

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