Effects of interactive unplugged programming activities on computational thinking skills and student engagement in elementary education

Qi Li, Qiang Jiang*, Jyh Chong Liang*, Weiyan Xiong, Yu Liang, Wei Zhao

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

Different instructional strategies have been drawn to assist elementary school students in improving computational thinking (CT) skills and student engagement (SE) in unplugged programming activities. This paper aimed to explore how the interactive strategies of unplugged programming affect CT skills and SE. The study was conducted based on a quasi-experimental research method. The sample was composed of 104 sixth-grade students from northern China. The students in the experimental group learned with interactive unplugged programming, whereas those in the control group learned with non-interactive unplugged programming. Analysis of Covariance statistics and Partial Least Squares Structural Equation Modeling were adopted for data analysis. Results showed that the performance of the experimental group in CT skills and SE was considerably better than that of the control group. Moreover, the predictive relationships were more complex between CT skills and SE in the experimental group. In general, these findings confirmed the teaching value of interactive unplugged programming, and further emphasized the important role of students’ CT skills in programming engagement. Therefore, through the application of interaction in instruction design, each student can be assigned a positive role to create a programming classroom that is more conducive to students.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)12293-12318
Number of pages26
JournalEducation and Information Technologies
Volume28
Issue number9
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2023 Sept

Keywords

  • Computational thinking skills
  • Interactive unplugged programming
  • Partial least squares structural equation modeling (PLS-SEM)
  • Student engagement
  • Unplugged programming

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Library and Information Sciences

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