Teaching the Concept of Computational Thinking: A STEM-Based Program With Tangible Robots on Project-Based Learning Courses

Frontiers in Psychology 12 (2022)
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Abstract

The twenty-first century is arguably the century of computing. In such a world saturated by computing, Computational Thinking is now recognized as a foundational competency for being an informed citizen and being successful in STEM work. Nevertheless, how to effectively import different types of teaching methods in university courses is subjected to further evaluation. Currently, the arguments in favor of tangible robots including high interaction, great practicality, and specific operation results make themselves to be often used as a teaching medium and tool for teaching activities between teachers and students. Hence, in addition to cultivating students with computational thinking ability, this paper discussed how to integrate tangible robots into project-based learning courses of thinking skills training to improve the learning performance of the computational thinking ability. This study conducted in one semester on the 105 students from three classes. Experimental results show that the project-based learning method integrated with the teaching material of robotic visual programs approach had significantly better effectiveness in improving students' learning achievements than the traditional teaching method integrated with paper practice teaching materials approach. Analysis of the questionnaire results showed that the proposed learning approach did not increase the students' cognitive burden. In sum, the proposed approach helps students' learning achievement and cognitive load.

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