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Teachers’ Perceived Value, Challenges, and Advice for Implementing Computational Thinking in Elementary Classrooms

, , Boise State University, United States

Journal of Technology and Teacher Education Volume 30, Number 3, ISSN 1059-7069 Publisher: Society for Information Technology & Teacher Education, Waynesville, NC USA

Abstract

Nurturing computational thinking (CT) in students is necessary for problem solving and important for bridging the current STEM gap, such as the American K-12 students’ lagging behind in math and science standardized testing. To facilitate the integration of CT in students, teachers’ experience and insights on implementing CT into K-12 classrooms, particularly elementary school classrooms need to be investigated. We interviewed 12 teachers who had participated in a larger National Science Foundation funded STEM+C (computing) study that integrates CT in informal STEM learning guided by a project-based learning (PBL) approach. The teachers had facilitated a STEM+CT curriculum as part of their professional development that introduced 4th to 6th grade students to CT in an after-school community center’s program over an eight-week period. We conducted a comprehensive analysis of the interviews regarding the implementation of CT into formal elementary classrooms including teachers’ perceived value of CT, the challenges for classroom implementation, and their advice on how to resolve those challenges. Half of the teachers interviewed have adapted the informal STEM+CT curriculum they had facilitated in the after-school program in their own classrooms and the other half have not. We found that, while both groups of teachers cited similar challenges, teachers who have adapted the STEM+CT curriculum valued CT more specifically as a strategy for complex problem-solving. Teachers who have adapted the STEM+CT curriculum and integrated it as part of their own curriculum were more vocal and descriptive regarding the need and justifications for more teacher PD regarding CT integration.

Citation

Feng, S. & Yang, D. (2022). Teachers’ Perceived Value, Challenges, and Advice for Implementing Computational Thinking in Elementary Classrooms. Journal of Technology and Teacher Education, 30(3), 293-320. Waynesville, NC USA: Society for Information Technology & Teacher Education. Retrieved December 3, 2022 from .