Evaluating Pre-Service Teachers’ Computational Thinking Skills in Scratch

By Corbett Artym, Mike Carbonaro and Patricia Boechler.

Published by Ubiquitous Learning: An International Journal

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Learning to think computationally has been identified by some researchers as a desirable skill for twenty-first-century learners (Wing 2006). The challenge for educators is to create learning environments that can foster the development of Computational Thinking (CT) in students. Teacher education programs are uniquely positioned to integrate CT skills into their pedagogical practice. Grover and Pea (2013) identified the following essential dimensions when considering CT: a) what can we expect students to know once they have participated in a curriculum designed to foster CT skills? and b) how might CT skills be evaluated? Building from the earlier research of Brennan and Resnick (2012), we selected digital game construction, using a graphical, block-based, programming environment, Scratch, to operationalize our CT context. A literature review forms the foundation for the design and creation of our assessment instrument used to measure a set of CT skills. We applied the results from this assessment instrument to the forty student-constructed games of various genres indicate that students successfully demonstrated different dimensions of CT. The paper concludes with a discussion on the teaching and assessment of CT components.

Keywords: Computational Thinking, Pre-service Teacher Education, Digital Game Construction, Scratch

Ubiquitous Learning: An International Journal, Volume 10, Issue 2, June 2017, pp.43-65. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 9.772MB).

Corbett Artym

Secondary Computing Science Teacher and Research Assistant, Educational Psychology, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

Dr. Mike Carbonaro

Professor, Educational Psychology, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

Dr. Patricia Boechler

Professor, Educational Psychology, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada