Computational thinking in the mathematics classroom: Fostering algorithmic thinking and generalization skills using dynamic mathematics software

Sylvia van Borkulo, Christos Chytas, Paul Drijvers, Erik Barendsen, Jos Tolboom

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

There are increasing calls for mathematics teachers to foster com- putational thinking (CT) skills in their lessons and align them with existing curricula and national educational policies. Algorithmic thinking (AT) and generalization are two key elements of CT that are often underrepresented in traditional mathematics lessons. This study investigated how to address AT and generalization aspects in 12th-grade calculus lessons using the dynamic mathematics soft- ware GeoGebra. We present a six-lesson intervention designed by an interdisciplinary team of researchers and teachers with a back- ground in computer science and mathematics education that aims to foster pre-university students’ AT and generalization skills in calculus lessons. We evaluated the intervention in a 15 students classroom in the Netherlands through the analysis of students’ workbooks, files, interviews, and the teacher’s logbook. The find- ings suggest that the intervention was favorably seen by both the teacher and the students, and that their learning and teaching ex- perience was highly satisfactory. The most common challenges for successfully completing the designed material included issues related to getting familiar with GeoGebra, syntax, and effectively using conditional statements. Finally, we report on the learning and teaching experience and discuss strategies to address AT and generalization aspects for teachers who wish to address such CT aspects in mathematics lessons.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe 16th Workshop in Primary and Secondary Computing Education (WiPSCE ’21), October 18–20, 2021, Virtual Event, Germany
EditorsMarc Berges, Andraes Muhling, Michal Armoni
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery
Pages19:1-19:9
Number of pages9
ISBN (Electronic)9781450385718
ISBN (Print)978-1-4503-8571
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 18 Oct 2021
EventThe 16th Workshop in Primary and Secondary Computing Education (WiPSCE ’21), October 18–20, 2021, Virtual Event, Germany - online, Germany
Duration: 18 Oct 202120 Oct 2021
https://www.wipsce.org/2021/

Conference

ConferenceThe 16th Workshop in Primary and Secondary Computing Education (WiPSCE ’21), October 18–20, 2021, Virtual Event, Germany
Country/TerritoryGermany
Period18/10/2120/10/21
Internet address

Keywords

  • GeoGebra
  • algorithmic thinking
  • computational thinking
  • generalization
  • mathematics education

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