CSSE Seminar Series

Development of Computational Thinking, through Computer Science and programming, and its benefits for primary school students.


Caitlin Duncan


Department of Computer Science and Software Engineering, University of Canterbury

Time & Place

Wed, 07 Feb 2018 10:00:00 NZDT in Erskine 240


Across the world there has been a paradigm shift in school education, as many countries are incorporating Computer Science (CS), programming, and Computational Thinking (CT), into their K-12 curriculums for the first time. In 2018 these subjects will be introduced to the New Zealand (NZ) Digital Technologies curriculum under the subject of “Computational Thinking”. Like the majority of countries who have introduced these topics, NZ faces challenges in preparing teachers, and in successfully implementing a curriculum which achieves its educational goals.

In this talk I will report on the results of a study conducted in 2015 and 2016 with 18 NZ primary school teachers. These teachers were provided with training and support to incorporate CS Unplugged and educational programming languages in their classroom programmes. They submitted feedback on these classes through an online form, and participated in semi-structured interviews. The feedback responses and interview transcripts were analysed using a thematic approach, which revealed many positive impacts on students general learning, minimal negative impacts, and observations of CT development.


Caitlin is a PhD student in CSSE at UC.