On the Development of Computational Thinking Skills in Schools through Computer Programming with Scratch
The inclusion of computer programming and computational thinking (CT) skills in the school curriculum is one of the main trends in the educational landscape worldwide. This movement has provoked a deep interest among scholars and research institutions, who are analyzing and comparing the approaches and plans of the different initiatives. The reviews on the state of CT in education that have been performed coincide in three main, fundamental aspects that require urgent attention from academia: assessment of CT skills, transference of CT skills and factors affecting CT skills. Consequently, aiming to fill the gaps identified in the research literature, the main goal of this thesis is to provide evidence that could help policy makers and educators in the introduction of CT skills in the school curriculum. Since the best scientific knowledge on the topic to this date shows that the most effective way to foster CT from early ages is by means of programming activities, this thesis investigates the development of CT through coding. Furthermore, as educators indicate that the tool that is most used both in primary and secondary education is Scratch, our work is focused on this programming platform/language. The main contribution of this thesis is the development and validation of Dr. Scratch, a free/libre/open source CT assessment tool for Scratch projects that is being used by thousands of learners, educators and researchers around the world, and which has received the Google RISE Award. Different actions were performed to validate the assessments provided by tool, proving ecological, convergent and discriminant validity. Furthermore, the empirical investigations performed regarding both the transference of CT across the K-12 curriculum, as well as social and non-cognitive factors affecting the development of programming and CT skills, provide insight and evidence that can be useful for educators, curriculum designers and policy makers. In fact, the main conclusions of these investigations have been cited in several official reports that study the introduction of computer programming and CT skills in schools to support policy makers, both at national and European levels.
Tesis Doctoral leída en la Universidad Rey Juan Carlos de Madrid en 2018. Director de la Tesis: Gregorio Robles
- Tesis Doctorales