Volume 14 · Number 3 · Pages 382–396
Creativity in Solving Short Tasks for Learning Computational Thinking

Valentina Dagienė, Gerald Futschek & Gabrielė Stupurienė

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Abstract

Context: The increasing and evolving presence of technology in the lives of children is reflected in the recognition in many educational frameworks that students should possess and be able to demonstrate computational thinking skills as part of their problem-solving practice. Problem: We discuss the process of creating tasks for the so-called Bebras challenge, a contest on informatics (computing) and computational thinking addressing school students of all ages. These tasks have a short problem statement and should be solvable in a few minutes. The challenge explored is how to formulate and structure such tasks so that there is still enough space for creativity in the solution process and how to organize the learning settings so that constructionist learning is supported. Method: We give an experience report about the creation and use of short tasks for learning computational thinking. We argue that the constructionist perspective involving the use of the Bebras-like tasks on computational thinking offers an appropriate frame for enriching learning activities, fostering collaborative and individual creativity. A process-oriented approach was selected for the research done in a study where we observed children’s activities in solving the short tasks on computational thinking. Results: Our analysis of the creativity, as exemplified in several observations of pupils while solving short tasks that involve computing concepts (the Bebras cards), shows that this kind of microlearning serves well to motivate pupils to be more interested in particular computing topics. The concept of the short tasks meets the usual way of teaching in primary education. Pupils and teachers develop a positive attitude to computing related topics. The analysis shows that the short tasks encourage pupils’ creativity in both solving and modifying them. Implications: Our study provides some preliminary evidence that, from a constructionist perspective, collective as well as individual creativity can stand as an appropriate framework for designing learning activities addressing computing concepts and supporting computational thinking. Moreover, our study opens a new field of research in combining creativity and computational thinking from a constructionist perspective. Constructivist content: Our more general aim is to support computing education, especially constructivist learning environments (both technology-based environments and those without technologies) in primary education.

Key words: Constructionism, creativity, computing (informatics) education, computing-concepts-based task, microlearning, short task, Bebras-like tasks, primary education

Citation

Dagienė V., Futschek G. & Stupurienė G. (2019) Creativity in solving short tasks for learning computational thinking. Constructivist Foundations 14(3): 382–396. https://constructivist.info/14/3/382

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