1 Universitat de Girona (SPAIN)
2 Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (SPAIN)
About this paper:
Appears in: EDULEARN17 Proceedings
Publication year: 2017
Pages: 6624-6629
ISBN: 978-84-697-3777-4
ISSN: 2340-1117
doi: 10.21125/edulearn.2017.2510
Conference name: 9th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 3-5 July, 2017
Location: Barcelona, Spain
Since its introduction by Papert and its application to the educational field by Wing, computational thinking has been experiencing a growing development in recent years in all levels of compulsory education and also in the unformal field. Undoubtedly, computational thinking helps individuals to better cope with learning challenges and even with everyday life challenges themselves; in addition, it is motivating for young people, and because of that, it is frequent offered as a common activity outside school or inside the curriculum. In Catalonia, different governmental initiatives consider the inclusion of programming and robotics in the ordinary classroom as a result of that; in fact, it is considered positive to generalize the computational thinking in the compulsory education system, because of its many possibilities and its many potentialities.

However, nowadays the Faculties of Education do not form teachers prepared to teach computational thinking to their future students, which may run the risk of not having professionals prepared enough in this regard. Because of this, the PECOFIM project is investigating the most effective ways to train future teachers in computational thinking. As a first part of this project, a descriptive analysis of the initial level of knowledge and expectations on computational thinking as a training strategy for the pre-service teachers of the two participating universities has been carried out, and preliminary data offer us an interesting view on the status in this regard.

Although the informants generally offer a precise definition of computational thinking, the preconception we detect in them is always closely linked to the experiences they have had in this respect and, therefore, it is related to robotics or programming, in an often quite restrictive vision.

Students show a high level of expectations about the educational possibilities of computational thinking in Primary Education, although their expectations are excessively linked to the instrumental domains related to programming itself and not to its incidence in the development of the other literacies and abilities. In addition, they are able to recognize in general terms which are the most relevant elements of the didactic strategies that allow students to develop it. However, even those who have been trained in robotics feel unprepared to act as teachers in computational thinking. As a last positive, it is important to emphasize that in any case the interest of the pre-service teachers to train in computational thinking is high.
Computational thinking, pre-service teachers.