Teaching Computer Science to 5-7 Year-olds: An Initial Study with Scratch, Cubelets and Unplugged Computing

Benjamin Wohl, Barry Porter, Sarah Clinch

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review

    Abstract

    Changes to school curriculums increasingly require the introduction of computer science concepts to younger children. This practical report compares three existing tools for teaching computer science concepts: unplugged computing, tangible computing and MIT's Scratch. We specifically focus on the use of these tools for school pupils aged 5--7. We describe a comparative study with 28 pupils from three rural UK primary schools that explores engagement with, and effectiveness of, each tool. As far as we are aware this is the first such comparative study of its kind. We demonstrate that the studied tools can be used to successfully introduce core computer science concepts to pupils as young as 5 years of age, that the methods used by teachers to deliver computing curriculums may greatly impact the learning outcomes, and that particular care needs to be taken to ensure that pupils focus on learning concepts rather than learning tools.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationProceedings of the Workshop in Primary and Secondary Computing Education
    Place of PublicationNew York, NY, USA
    PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery
    Pages55-60
    Number of pages6
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - Nov 2015

    Publication series

    NameWiPSCE '15
    PublisherACM

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