Measuring the impact of CS Unplugged among New Zealand’s primary and high school teachers
Thesis DisciplineComputer Science
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Science
Computational Thinking (CT) is taking an ever-growing role in education. In the context of fast curriculum change, incorporating CT with teaching CS in school requires new skill and knowledge that existing and upcoming teachers may not possess. A major challenge for improving participation in computing is the lack of trained teachers. As a result, Professional development (PD) is key to successfully improve the teaching of CS. In this paper, we describe how PD activities and teaching pedagogies like ‘CS Unplugged’ can help in changing how CS concepts are delivered effectively by increasing teacher confidence levels and reported programming knowledge within a time frame as small as two days.
The main goal of this research is to provide insights to professional learning and development leaders on the effectiveness of incorporating teaching pedagogies like ‘CS Unplugged’ as a part of their workshop demonstration. The secondary goal of this research is to reach pre-service teachers and provide them with first-hand experience from teachers who attended the PD workshops.
This paper describes results of an extensive qualitative study through survey and interviews of primary (elementary) and high school teachers who participated in PD workshops conducted in New Zealand, in preparation of integrating CT into existing modules. Survey results focused more on getting the generalised view from the teachers about their understanding of concepts and material introduced before and after the workshop. Interview protocol focussed on participants involvement in PD workshop, improvement in their skills, strategies learnt, whether or not they were able to use these skills in the classroom setting and what connections they could draw from it.