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Developing Students’ Computational Thinking and Subject Knowledge through Computational Modeling in Secondary Education

Research output: Book/anthology/dissertation/reportPh.D. thesis

Computational thinking has become a core element in many countries' attempts to integrate computing into curricula at various levels of education. Computational modeling should be conceived of as part of computational thinking in K-12 education. Computational modeling has been shown to improve students’ content knowledge in existing subjects in K-12 education. However, there is a research knowledge gap in terms of how computational modeling and coding is improving students’ content knowledge of existing subjects in high school.
The aim of the present dissertation is to investigate how computational modeling integrated into an existing subject in high school can foster students’ skills and competences in computing.
Computer models and teaching activities were developed and applied in different high school classes in Denmark. More than 350 students and 100 teachers participated in the studies which were designed as both intervention and processual studies.
The PhD study contributes to research in the field of computing education. More specifically it touches the areas of students and teachers, schools, and society and addresses aspects of computing education research such as: what is and how can computing education be established in high school education, and what do students’ gain from participating in computing education in high school.
This PhD study offers five contributions to the research field. First, an applicable framework for designing and teaching computational modeling and for students’ to tinker with learning computational thinking. Second, a template for evaluating teaching activities in computational modeling has been developed as a viable way for predicting the efficacy of teacher-designed activities. Third, a taxonomy of computational thinking and gestures for students’ learning of computational thinking have been developed and successfully applied in a case study. Fourth, an assessment of students’ learning in both computational modeling, coding, and subject matter have been performed and potential synergetic effects investigated. Statistically significant improvements in students’ learning have been identified. Finally, a literature survey of the use of empowerment as a term in relation to computational thinking in education have been conducted and shortcomings made visible.
Translated title of the contributionUdvikling af Elevers ’Computational Thinking’ og Faglige Viden gennem Computationel Modellering i Gymnasieuddannelse.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherAarhus Universitet
Number of pages84
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2022

Note re. dissertation

Termination date: 16.02.2022

    Research areas

  • #CCTD, Computational thinking, Computational modeling, subject matter

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