Apps to Promote Computational Thinking and Coding Skills to Young Age Children: A Pedagogical Challenge for the 21st Century Learners
pp. 7-13 | Published Online: March 2022 | DOI: 10.22521/edupij.2022.111.1
Full text PDF | 953 | 762
Background/purpose – At the beginning of the 21st century, Computational Thinking (CT) and coding were typically considered part of secondary education programs, focusing on programming and algorithm development. The early childhood classroom was not expected to find students who developed coding skills. Nevertheless, as has been the case lately, CT and coding have been characterized as fundamental skills of the 21st century, not only for computer scientists but all for citizens. However, through developmentally appropriate technologies, the development of coding skills is increasingly possible, and the result may be the advancement of CT fluency or at least familiarity in young age children. Given the enormous success of smart mobile devices and accompanying mobile apps, the question is whether apps provide the children of preschool and pre-primary school age with opportunities to cultivate their basic coding and CT skills. This study is a review article that presents a brief literature review on the apps that promote themselves that can cultivate CT and coding skills of young students.
Materials/methods – This paper presents a literature review of empirical studies on apps that promote themselves to support young children’s learning of CT and coding skills.
Results – Despite the abundance of 'self-proclaimed educational' apps for children, there is a need for developmentally appropriate apps, specifically designed for young people to promote the development of CT concepts and coding skills in young children's life.
Conclusion – This study contributes to a small but growing body of literature investigating how children process and learn fundamental coding skills from touchscreen devices. The findings of this study provide evidence that young age children can facilitate early STEM learning and foundational coding skills from developmentally appropriate playful learning experiences on smart mobile devices.
Keywords: Mobile applications (apps); computational thinking; basic coding skills; preschool age; pre-primary school age.References
Aranda, G., & Ferguson, J. P. (2018). Unplugged Programming: The future of teaching computational thinking? Pedagogika, 68(3). https://doi.org/10.14712/23362189.2018.859
Bers, M. U. (2018). Coding and Computational Thinking in Early Childhood: The Impact of ScratchJr in Europe. European Journal of STEM Education, 3(3), 1-13. https://doi.org/10.20897/ejsteme/3868
Chen G., Shen J., Barth-Cohen L., Jiang S., Huang X. & Eltoukhy M. (2017). Assessing elementary students’ computational thinking in everyday reasoning and robotics programming. Computers & Education, 109, 162-175. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.compedu.2017.03.001
Falkner, K. (2015). Computational thinking as the 'new literacy': professional development opportunities. Retrieved from https://www.scisdata.com/connections/issue-95/computational-thinking-as-the-new-literacy-professional-development-opportunities
Harel, I. (2016). American schools are teaching our kids how to code all wrong. Retrieved from https://qz.com/691614/american-schools-are-teaching-our-kids-how-to-code-all-wrong/
Heikkilä, M., & Mannila, L. (2018). Debugging in Programming as a Multimodal Practice in Early Childhood Education Settings. Multimodal Technologies and Interaction, 2(3), 42. https://doi.org/10.3390/mti2030042
Highfield, K., Paciga, K. A., & Donohue, C. (2018). Supporting whole child development in the digital age. In S.J. Danby et al. (eds.), Digital Childhoods, International Perspectives on Early Childhood Education and Development 22 (pp. 165-182). Springer, Singapore. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-10-6484-5_11
Kitchenham, B. (2004). Procedures for Undertaking Systematic Reviews. Joint Technical Report. Computer Science Department, Keele University (TR/SE0401) (National ICT Australia Ltd). Retrieved from https://www.inf.ufsc.br/~aldo.vw/kitchenham.pdf
Kucirkova, N. (2014). iPads in early education: separating assumptions and evidence. Frontiers in psychology, 5, 715. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2014.00715
Kyriakides, A. O., Meletiou-Mavrotheris, M., & Prodromou, T. (2016). Mobile technologies in the service of students’ learning of mathematics: the example of game application ALEX in the context of a primary school in Cyprus. Mathematics Education Research Journal, 28(1), 53-78. https://doi.org/10.1007/s13394-015-0163-x
Lee, J. (2019). Coding in early childhood. Contemporary Issues in Early Childhood. https://doi.org/10.1177/1463949119846541
Leidl, K. D., Bers, M. U., & Mihm, C. (2017). Programming with ScratchJr: a review of the first year of user analytics. In Kong, S. C., Sheldon, J., & Li, K. Y. (Eds.). (2017). Conference Proceedings of International Conference on Computational Thinking Education 2017 (pp. 116-121). Hong Kong: The Education University of Hong Kong.
National Association for the Education of Young Children & the Fred Rogers Center for Early Learning and Children’s Media at Saint Vincent College. (2012). Technology and Interactive Media as Tools in Early Childhood Programs Serving Children from Birth through Age 8. Retrieved from https://www.naeyc.org/files/naeyc/file/positions/PS_technology_WEB2.pdf
Papadakis, S. (2021). The impact of coding apps to support young children in computational thinking and computational fluency. A literature review. Frontiers in Education, 6(1), 1-12. https://doi.org/10.3389/feduc.2021.657895
Papadakis, S. (2022). Can Preschoolers Learn Computational Thinking and Coding Skills with ScratchJr? A Systematic Literature Review. International Journal of Educational Reform, 10567879221076077. https://doi.org/10.1177%2F10567879221076077
Papadakis, S., Kalogiannakis, M., & Zaranis, N. (2021). Teaching mathematics with mobile devices and the Realistic Mathematical Education (RME) approach in kindergarten. Advances in Mobile Learning Educational Research, 1(1), 5-18. https://doi.org/10.25082/AMLER.2021.01.002
Strawhacker, A., & Bers, M. U. (2019). What They Learn When They Learn Coding: Investigating cognitive development and computer programming in young children. Educational Technology Research and Development, 67(3), 541-575. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11423-018-9622-x
Strawhacker, A., Lee, M., & Bers, M. U. (2018). Teaching tools, teachers’ rules: exploring the impact of teaching styles on young children’s programming knowledge in ScratchJr. International Journal of Technology and Design Education, 28(2), 347-376. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10798-017-9400-9
Sullivan, A., & Bers, M. U. (2016). Robotics in the early childhood classroom: learning outcomes from an 8-week robotics curriculum in pre-kindergarten through second grade. International Journal of Technology and Design Education, 26(1), 3-20. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10798-015-9304-5
Walsh, C., & Campbell, C. (2018). Introducing Coding as a Literacy on Mobile Devices in the Early Years. Mobile Technologies in Children’s Language and Literacy: Innovative Pedagogy in Preschool and Primary Education (pp. 51-66). Emerald Publishing Limited.
Wing, J. M. (2006). Computational Thinking. Communications of the ACM, 49-3, 33-35. https://doi.org/10.1145/1118178.1118215
Yu, J., & Roque, R. (2018). A survey of computational kits for young children. In Proceedings of the 17th ACM Conference on Interaction Design and Children (pp. 289-299). ACM, New York, NY, USA. https://doi.org/10.1145/3202185.3202738