Discovering Computational Thinking Genes amongst Pre-service Teachers with Scratch and Scrape

How design based learning activities support pre-service teacher training
Andrew Csizmadia

Computational Thinking is one of the key elements, along with Computing of the proposed national Programme of Study for Computing for schools in England. The phrase Computational Thinking continues to receive a great deal of attention as it cited as an outcome in a significant number of computer science education research projects and justification for the re-emerging of computing. However, the phrase is widely used without there being a consensus regarding a definition for Computational Thinking and strategies for assessing the development of Computational Thinking. We are interested in the ways that design-based learning activities, in particular programming interactive design media such as Scratch can support the development of Computational Thinking in pre-service teachers.

This year working with a group of pre-service teachers, who designed and developed computer games to both explore and develop their understanding of computing principles and concepts, we investigated the Computational Thinking Framework developed by Brennan & Resnick (2012) and its key dimensions: computational concepts, computational practices and computational perspectives.

This poster illustrates the approach we undertook to practically assess the key dimensions of the Computational Thinking Framework as pre-service teachers learnt the art and craft of programming using Scratch to create computer games as a response to given design scenarios. In particular the poster focuses on utilising Scrape (Wolz, Hallberg & Taylor, 2011) as a viable tool for project portfolio analysis of digital artefacts created by the pre-service teachers. The poster illuminates how Scratch and Scrape can be utilised to enable a learner to discover the Computational Thinking dimensions that they engaged with in producing a computer game and enable the learner to critical self-reflect upon and identify their areas of developmental needs (Black & Wiliam, 1998).