The Department of Cognitive and Learning Sciences will host Cosmas John Kathumba from Rhodes University at the next Applied Cognitive Science and Human Factors forum.
The presentation will be from 2:00 to 3:00 p.m. (EST) Monday October 30 via Zoom from Grahamstown, South Africa.
Title: Promoting and investigatin the pre-service teachers’ computational thinking practical development in the physical sciences methods course.
Computational thinking (CT)’s recognition as a fundamental skill alongside writing, reading and arithmetic (Wing, 2006) has influenced researchers and educators to infuse it in other disciplines such as science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) apart from computer science to promote instruction and problem-solving competencies. CT is a skill set required for all humans to navigate and survive in the 21st century. However, a framework is scarce to help science teachers at the secondary school level in South Africa to practically develop CT skills. Thus, it is necessary to inititate intervention to work with teachers to develop CT practically. It is against this backdrop that this intervention study seeks to explore how pre-service physical sciences teachers develop CT in the physical sciences methods course. The main research question of this proposed study is “How do the physical sciences methods course infused with computational thinking concepts influence or not pre-service teachers’ practical development of computational thinking?” This proposed study is underpinned by the Lev Vygotsky’s social-cultural theory (SCT). Further, this study will use a transformative mixed methods design and will be guided by a “Code, Connect, Create” (3C) professional development model. The study will be carried out within the Education Faculty at Rhodes University with the postgraduate certificate in education (PGCE) students during the physical sciences methods course. This proposed study will be carried out in two stages. In the first stage, pre-service teachers will be assessed on their prior understanding of CT skills before they start learning the actual content of the physical sciences methods course; in the second stage, they will be introduced to different strategies for teaching physical sciences that infuse CT skills. Data will be generated through pre-questionnaire and post-questionnaire, post-intervention interviews, peer and self-assessment, and journal reflections. A mixed method of data analysis will be employed.