By Isabella Corradini, Michael Lodi and Enrico Nardelli
Research Paper presented at ISSEP (International Conference on Informatics in Schools: Situation, Evolution, and Perspectives, Saint Petersburg, October 2018
This paper reports the results of an investigation involving almost a thousand primary school teachers in Italy, to explore their views on the terms “coding” and “programming”, and how they are related to their ideas on “computational thinking”. When directly asked “if coding is different from writing programs”, roughly 2 out of 3 teachers answered “no”. Among the teachers who answered “yes”, almost 160 tried to motivate the difference: a few of them gave admissible explanations, while the others showed various misunderstandings, which we classify and discuss. By contrast, when asked about their idea of “what coding is”, only 4 out of 10 of the teachers explicitly linked coding to programming, but an additional 2 out of 10 cited an information processing agent executing instructions. The remaining part of the sample did not provide explicit or implicit links between coding and programming. Our investigation shows that untrained teachers hold misconceptions regarding CS and its related terms. Given the general public and media attention on “coding” in schools, currently taught by existing teachers - mostly not appropriately trained, professional development actions focusing on CS scientific principles and methods are therefore a top priority for the effectiveness of CS education in schools.
In Conference Proceeding "Informatics in School", Springer Publication