Integrating Game-based Learning into Computational Thinking Class for Lower Primary Students
Lesson Design and Course Effect
Keywords:Computational thinking, early childhood education, unplugged activities, digital game-based learning, coding
Computational thinking (CT) has been integrated into K-12 curricula globally. With the growing trend of initiating CT in early childhood education, great effort has been made in developing age-appropriate courses targeting young children. This study aims to introduce an instructional unit of CT instruction for children aged 5-7, Coding Galaxy-Foundation, where unplugged activities and digital game-based learning were applied. A public primary school in Hong Kong was invited for delivering the course, where Grade 1 and Grade 3 students were involved (N=57). Six lessons were selected, covering basic CT concepts including sequences, decomposition, events, relative direction, debugging, loops, pattern recognition, and conditionals. Each lesson consisted of three sections, namely, a) concept introduction with daily-life examples, b) unplugged activities based on puzzles, and c) digital game practices with Coding Galaxy game app. Students' attainment from the course was assessed in both cognitive and attitudinal facets. The results indicated that the course was effective in sustaining students' CT cognitive performance and improving students' coding attitudes, and female and Grade 3 cohorts were the most beneficiaries. Implications for further research and educational practices are discussed.
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