Are our children developing computer-complementary skills?
Computational thinking (CT) is the ability to develop a problem-solving methodology that complements computers. This project studies the extent to which Swiss students are able to do so, and develops tools to measure these skills.
We will assess the computational thinking (CT) skills in Swiss compulsory schools in three steps. First, we will design an age-based competency model for CT and identify typical problems found in each age group. In a second step, we will develop an intelligent tutoring and assessment system that can help students solve problems while measuring their computational thinking skills. In a third phase, we will test this educational robotics approach in compulsory schools in the cantons of St. Gallen, Vaud and Ticino. A special focus will be placed on the Swiss educational robot Thymio II, which is currently in the process of being introduced in schools in these cantons.
Computational thinking is the ability to break down problems into their different parts, to develop solution strategies and to present these in a way that can be understood and executed both by humans and computers. Computational thinking is recognized as a central element in various national and cantonal education strategies. Unfortunately, very few tools are available to measure the impact of the implemented measures.
The aim of this project is to provide policy-makers and teachers with tools and protocols for the large-scale assessment of competencies in compulsory education. The project especially aims to define a competency model, to develop an intelligent tutoring and assessment system, and to test the developed tools in the cantons of St. Gallen, Vaud and Ticino.
The results will make it possible to evaluate the developed competency model; notably to determine how can it be used in schools, and how it is accepted by students, teachers, school principals and cantonal services. The findings will also enable the evaluation of the effectiveness of the different approaches to teaching CT skills. This project therefore provides a tool to appraise the impact of educational initiatives that focus on computational thinking.
Assessing the development of computational thinking skills through an intelligent tutoring system: an exploratory study in the cantons of St Gallen, Vaud and Ticino