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Developing an Introductory Computer Science Course for Pre-service Teachers

, Northeastern Illinois University, United States ; , Chicago Public Schools, United States

Journal of Technology and Teacher Education Volume 28, Number 3, ISSN 1059-7069 Publisher: Society for Information Technology & Teacher Education, Waynesville, NC USA

Abstract

Computational thinking (CT) involves breaking a problem into smaller components and solving it using algorithmic thinking and abstraction. CT is no longer exclusively for computer scientists but for everyone. While CT does not necessarily require programming, learning programming to enhance CT skills at a young age can help shape the next generation of children with knowledge that can help them succeed in our technological world. In order to produce teachers who are able to incorporate programming and CT into their future classrooms, we created an introductory Computer Science course (CS0) targeting future K-8 STEM teachers yet open to any student to enroll and learn computer science. We used a mixed-methods approach, examining both quantitative and qualitative data based on self-reported surveys, classroom artifacts, and focus groups from four semesters of data. We found that after taking the course, students’ self-efficacy in CT increased and while education students initially had lower confidence in their computing abilities than computer science students in the course, by the end of the semester there were no differences in their perceived and actual coding abilities when compared with computer science students. Furthermore, education students had many ideas on how to incorporate similar projects into their own future classrooms.

Citation

Adler, R.F. & Beck, K. (2020). Developing an Introductory Computer Science Course for Pre-service Teachers. Journal of Technology and Teacher Education, 28(3), 519-541. Waynesville, NC USA: Society for Information Technology & Teacher Education. Retrieved October 1, 2020 from .