Abstract: Physical Computing, as an instructional model, is applied in the framework of the Engineering Pedagogy to teach “transversal/cross-cutting ideas” in a STEM content approach. Labview and Arduino were used in order to connect the physical world with real data in the framework of the so called Computational Experiment. Tertiary prospective engineering educators were engaged during their course and Computational Thinking (CT) concepts were registered before and after the intervention across didactic activities using validated questionnaires for the relationship between self-efficacy, computer programming, and CT concepts when STEM content epistemology is implemented in alignment with the Computational Pedagogy model. Results show a significant change in students’ responses for self-efficacy for CT before and after the instruction. Results also indicate a significant relation between the responses in the different CT concepts/practices. According to the findings, STEM content epistemology combined with Physical Computing should be a good candidate as a learning and teaching approach in university settings that enhances students’ engagement in CT concepts/practices.
Abstract: Lack of motivation and interest is a serious obstacle to students’ learning computing skills. A need exists for a knowledge base on effective pedagogy and curricula to teach computer programming. This paper presents results from research evaluating a six-year project designed to teach complex concepts in computer programming collaboratively, while supporting students to continue developing their computer thinking and related coding skills individually. Utilizing a quasi-experimental, mixed methods design, the pedagogical approaches and methods were assessed in two contrasting groups of students with different socioeconomic status, gender, and age composition. Analyses of quantitative data from Likert-scale surveys and an evaluation rubric, combined with qualitative data from reflective writing exercises and semi-structured interviews yielded convincing evidence of the project’s success at both teaching and inspiring students.