Investigation of Variables Related to Computational Thinking Self-Efficacy Level in Middle School Students: Are Demographic Variables, Academic Success, or Programming-Related Variables More Important?

Investigation of Variables Related to Computational Thinking Self-Efficacy Level in Middle School Students: Are Demographic Variables, Academic Success, or Programming-Related Variables More Important?

Hatice Yildiz Durak (Bartin University, Turkey), Mustafa Saritepeci (Necmettin Erbakan University, Turkey), Ahmet Topçu (MNE, Turkey) and Aykut Durak (Bartin University, Turkey)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-4576-8.ch003

Abstract

This study examined the predictiveness of demographic and academic variables and the variables which are in relation with programming on computational thinking (CT) self-efficacy of middle school students who received and who did not receive programming education. Relational screening model was utilized in this study. One-hundred ninety-nine middle school students from 5th and 6th grades in Turkey composed the participants of the research. As the result of the research, it was found that CT self-efficacy level is low. Furthermore, programming experiences of the students are approximately two years. The most important predictor of CT self-efficacy of the students who received programming education is demographic variables. Predictive variables' relative order of importance on CT self-efficacy of the students who received programming education are gender, utilized programming tool, math class grade point average, and attitude towards programming.
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Introduction

Computational thinking (CT) is one of the often-mentioned concepts today. This concept does not have an agreed universal description (Lockwood & Mooney, 2017; Moreno-León, Román-González, & Robles, 2018; Yildiz-Durak & Saritepeci, 2018). Accordingly, it is observed that the scale tools necessary for CT’s scopes, development and scaling have a diverse range (Zhang & Nouri, 2019). While Papert (1980) explained CT within context of math education, he emphasized application of children’s procedural thinking by way of computer programming. Wing (2006) argued that for everyone CT is a skill which should be developed, and CT is needed to be regarded as a basic skill not only in computer programming processes, but also in every action involving analytical ability of human. According to Durak (2020), content of CT is not limited to the problem-solving processes in human minds. CT includes all of computing processes (Hsu, Chang, & Hung, 2018).

Development of CT skills via programming has an important place, particularly at K-12, for enabling of 21st century skills (Wong & Cheung, 2018). Even at some resources CT is handled as the skill of 21st century. However, it is important to detect at which learning level and with which variables CT is in relation with. Thus, according to Wing (2006), contribution of the knowledge taught to children during the education given at early ages to problem-solving process, how to apply CT skills and how to make logical analysis should be taught as well. Children’s comprehension of CT skills is utilized for turning a problem into a easy-to-understand problem by expressing it with their own description, for solving problems with a mood similar to computer scientist when we encounter IT problems, for designing systems and turning problem’s solution process into a thinking system which can be understood by people (ISTE (International Society for Technology in Education) & CSTA(Computer Science Teachers Association), 2011; Wing, 2006; Durak, 2020). Therefore, by solving the problems in different fields via CT skills, students can be enabled to be individuals who are able to solve the problems they will encounter in information society through current technologies, academically successful and life-long learners (Gülbahar, Kert, & Kalelioğlu, 2019).

Key Terms in this Chapter

Algorithm Designing Efficacy: It is the ability to use algorithms by making logical inquiries knowing for which purpose the algorithms are used.

Basic Programming Efficacy: It is the ability to know and apply the basic concepts and stages of the programming process.

Data Processing Efficacy: Being aware of what the data is, the ability to use their knowledge and skills on data types, data presentation and the transformation of digital data into different forms in the problem-solving process.

Computational Thinking: This concept is a thinking process which expresses active use of information and communication technologies’ concepts in solution of complex problems.

Self-Confidence Efficacy: In the problem-solving process, it is the awareness of noticing mistakes, choosing the best way, and prioritizing work/processes.

Computational Thinking Self-Efficacy: Within the scope of this study, this concept is considered as a competence that includes the dimensions of “Algorithm Designing Efficacy, Problem-solving Efficacy, Data Processing Efficacy, Basic Programming Efficacy, Self-confidence Efficacy.”

Problem-Solving Efficacy: It is the adequacy of performing a problem-solving process in a logical context using experiences.

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