AN EMPIRICAL STUDY ON THE INTEGRATION OF COMPUTATIONAL THINKING PRINCIPLES IN PRIMARY AND SECONDARY SCHOOLS OF CASTILLA-LA MANCHA

P. Bermejo, A. Bermúdez, C. Carrión, G. Díaz, G. Fernández, I. García

Universidad de Castilla-La Mancha (SPAIN)
Computational thinking may be defined as the systematic development of critical thinking and problem solving skills supported by computational concepts. The literature shows the numerous benefits of implementing the ideas behind computational thinking in the teaching/learning process at very early ages. This means in practice that children and teenagers should start programming at school or high school. Tools like MIT’s Scratch and Google’s Blockly ease notably this task.

Being aware of this need, authorities in the Spanish region of Castilla-La Mancha are deploying a set of activities to disseminate these ideas among teachers of primary and secondary levels. One of these activities is a course on Scratch programming, which has been offered to teachers of different disciplines (not only technological ones) and taught by computer science professors and researchers from the regional University.

In this work, the contents and the organization of this course are described. In particular, apart from providing some notions to those teachers not familiarized with programming, a second goal of the course is to describe the way in which they can incorporate these computational concepts in their courses, taking into account the current regulations.

The paper also performs a detailed analysis of the information collected by means of a survey to the course attendees. In this survey, they were asked anonymously about their general opinion regarding computational thinking, their intention to incorporate these computational concepts and techniques into their classroom daily activity, and the way in which this can be implemented. In the light of the results of the survey, some interesting conclusions were drawn.