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Fostering Computational Thinking and Problem Solving Skills in Early Education: A Meta-Analytic Review

23 July 2018


Research has shown that students can gain learning skills through computer programming. A lot these programs are online and assessable to the public. As a result, schools and programs are imbedding these programs and using them as an educational tool within their curriculums. A few prominent themes being investigated are its relationship between computational thinking and problem solving. Prior research has paved the way to determine whether these outcomes stem from computer programming. Many studies mention 1 of 3 different kinds of technological mediums: visual programming language, robotics curriculum and game-based design as predictors of these outcomes. This meta-analysis examines whether students (in elementary or secondary school) develop computational thinking or problem solving skills over time. The 10 primary studies involved in this analysis revealed that the students in this sample did develop computational thinking skills over time. Two moderators were speculated in this study: technological medium and teacher workshops. All 3 different technological mediums had significant average effect sizes; however, they were not significantly different from each other. Discussion and recommendations include implementing better research designs and looking into the effectiveness of teacher workshops prior to experimentation.


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