Frontiers in Education: Digital Learning Innovations

Grades 7–12 teachers' perception of computational thinking for mathematics and technology

7 hours 42 minutes ago

An ongoing trend on a global scale is the integration of computer science and programming in K-12 education. The integration has been motivated by the needs of the present and future labor market but also by the assumption that skills related to computer science and programming are valuable for citizens to navigate an increasingly digitalized society. Computational thinking (CT) is a concept that aims to define and summarize skills associated with programming and computer science and has received wide recognition within research and education. But how do the teachers perceive this concept, and how do they relate it to their own teaching and learning activities? This study aims to investigate and discuss teachers' perceptions of CT in grades 7–12 mathematics and technology.


Data have been collected from essay assignments in three instances of a professional development course on fundamental programming for grades 7–12 teachers in mathematics and technology. In the essays, the teachers reflect on CT in relation to mathematics and technology and teaching and learning activities in these subjects. With a theoretical framework for CT, the collected data have been analyzed with a directed content analysis approach to identify categories of interests for CT in relation to grades 7–12 mathematics and technology.


The results of the study show that the teachers perceive both opportunities and challenges in applying the CT concept in their teaching and learning activities. For example, it can strengthen the subjects through new practices and reinforce old practices, but it could be too complex and perceived as difficult by some students. Furthermore, many of the teachers perceive CT not only to be relevant for mathematics and technology but also for learning in general.


The conclusion of the study is that CT has the potential to enhance teaching and learning activities in mathematics, technology, and other STEM subjects. If this should be successful, CT must not be involved too abstractly or too superficially. This study contributes to the discussion on CT in K-12 education, adding the teachers' perspective. The findings of this study can be used by teachers and other stakeholders in the design of classroom activities that apply the CT concept.

We learned we can do something to reduce bullying: Children designing anti-bullying mobile apps to empower their peers

6 days 8 hours ago

Mobile applications have thoroughly pervaded the lives of today's children, who live and learn through and with them. However, limited research has been conducted on children designing such apps and not only using those designed by adults. Inviting children to design such apps is the focus of our study. Moreover, in contemporary society, it is emphasized that children should be empowered to take civic action and engage in making the world a better place. In the literature, however, less emphasis has been placed on how children can be invited to do so through the means of digital technology, particularly mobile application design. In this study, 13–15-year-old children are invited to take civic action to address the serious societal problem of bullying through the design of mobile apps. We discussed the design process and analyzed the applications the children designed from the viewpoint of how they aim to tackle bullying. We examined how their app designs aim at empowering other children in the context of bullying, and thus considered what kinds of opportunities emerge for children to learn skills related to the prevention or management of bullying in the apps they have designed. We showed that the children's app designs informed us of the seriousness of bullying in children's lives and that they advocate for the empowerment of other children in different ways. Hence, we have increased our understanding of how smart, interactive technologies designed by children address the learning and empowerment of other children, i.e., application users. We also studied the children's learning from both their and their teachers' perspectives. This study showcases an alternative way educators can integrate digital technologies and apps in school settings to educate children on important societal matters and digital technology.

The future scribe: Learning to write the world

1 week 5 days ago

This study takes its point of departure in academic scholarship that points to how programming – reading and writing code – is the literacy of the future, in other words, non-specialized competence that should be acquired in education in parity with traditional reading and writing skills. The goal is to shed light on how programming can be orchestrated in education to break with the outworn dichotomy between the ‘two cultures’ that C. P. Snow formulated as a gap between, on the one hand, natural sciences, mathematics, and technology, and, on the other hand, the humanities, and social sciences. A discursive analysis of Swedish policy documents and curricula forms the empirical ground for discussing how reading and writing code are introduced, taught, and learnt within Swedish compulsory school. The results show that Swedish curricula are framing programming as specialized knowledge within technology and mathematics, rather than allowing it to be a dimension of several subjects, such as the humanities and social sciences. These findings are discussed in the light of recent studies in education that have explored interrelations between coding and reading and writing texts. The discussion leads up to suggestions for implementing reading and writing code as digital literacy in education.

Mapping research approaches to data practices in schools

1 week 6 days ago

Digital data have a major impact on school practices and play a central role for teachers, including their pedagogical practice. From a research perspective, the question arises how data practices and data-related transformation processes in schools can be studied. Therefore, the aim of this paper is to methodically review research approaches and underlying methodological assumptions about data practices in schools based on a systematic review. The focus is on social science research designs, social science research instruments, and knowledge production methods. The article provides an overview of previous research practice in this area and concludes with possible implications for future research.

Specifics of the students’ critical thinking formation within active learning space

1 week 6 days ago

Critical thinking skills are important for personal development and self-realization in professional activity. Thus, this research was aimed at obtaining data about the formation of students’ critical thinking and the professional competencies of the future specialist within hybrid learning. The developed elective course for psychologists and linguists was introduced into the educational system of a higher educational institution. To measure the level of forced critical thinking, the authors used the California Critical Thinking Disposition Inventory (CCTDI), which is specifically designed for undergraduate and graduate students or comparable groups. The findings describe the specifics of the students’ critical thinking formation within hybrid learning. The statistical data analysis showed positive dynamics and a significant increase in the experimental group. The practical testing and experimental validity of the developed course effectiveness gives prospects for further studies of this phenomenon and the practical implementation of innovative technologies aimed at the students’ critical thinking formation within a blended learning model in higher education institutions. The developed optional course within the blended learning model allows creating and practically implementing new educational programs for university students. The research findings also foresee the need for further study of training competent pedagogical staff for the implementation of blended learning.

Pre-testing erroneous text-based documents: Logging end-user activities

2 weeks ago

An extremely high number of erroneous text-based documents are in circulation, being multiplied, serving as samples both in the office world and in education. Creating, editing, and modifying these documents generates a serious financial loss when both human and machine resources are considered. Our research team developed an application and a testing method for building up an objective measurement system, in order to see the rate of loss in the handling of erroneous documents. In the pre-testing period, the error factor of a sample text was set up based on the logged activities of an expert researcher. It was found that first level modifications require about five times more human and machine resources in a short, one-paragraph text burdened with layout errors than in its properly formatted version. Further testing is required to find out how demanding longer texts and more serious modifications are, but it is already obvious that erroneous text-editing, and the lack of fundamental computational thinking skills involve unnecessary use of our resources.

The efficacy of a four-stage learning model incorporating ACODESA method and mind map in fostering students’ mathematical communication skills: A data report

2 weeks ago

Learning mathematics equips students with the necessary competencies, and mathematical communication abilities allow them to discuss and exchange mathematical ideas with others. Correspondingly, research is needed into ways to help students develop these skills. These data were collected from 87 students in grade 10 at An Nhon Tay High School in the Cu Chi neighborhood of Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. These students took part in a quasi-experimental study whose goal was to determine how a four-step learning model that included activities using the ACODESA method and mind maps affected the student’s ability to communicate mathematically. In the experimental group, students were taught using the learning mentioned above model, while those in the control group received traditional instruction. To determine the efficacy of this teaching strategy, a quasi-experiment that included a pre-test, a treatment, and a post-test was designed and carried out. The student’s development in mathematical and linguistic activities was evaluated using both quantitative and qualitative analyses of the data that was gathered. Data gathered may shed light on how effective the learning model is in helping high school students enhance their mathematical communication skills. Also, the pre-test and post-test items from the supplementary data files can be a starting point for creating new learning tasks to evaluate students’ mathematical communication abilities.

Implementing an online peer tutoring intervention to promote reading skills of elementary students: Effects on fluency and accuracy

2 weeks ago

The global COVID-19 pandemic disrupted face-to-face teaching, having a significant impact on the teaching-learning process. As a result, many students spent less time reading (and learning to read) than they did during face-to-face instruction, requiring the use of alternative approaches of instruction. A combined online and peer tutoring intervention was designed to improve reading skills such as fluency and accuracy. Following a quasi-experimental design, this study sought to evaluated the impact of implementing an online peer tutoring intervention on the development of reading fluency and accuracy in a sample of 91 2nd and 4th graders (49.6% female). Children were aged 6–10 years old (M = 7.81, SD = 1.10) and were enrolled in five classrooms (A, B, C, D, and E) from three schools in the Portuguese district of Porto, between January and May 2021. A set of 10 texts were chosen from official textbooks to assess reading fluency and accuracy. Classes were evaluated in three moments: initial (pre-intervention), intermediate (after 10 sessions) and final (post-test, after other 10 sessions). In order to examine the effects of the intervention, there was a 8-week lag between the start of the intervention in classes A, B, and C (experimental group) and classes D and E (control group). Moreover, classes D and E started intervention with a gap of 5 weeks between them. Students in the experimental group registered significant higher improvements in reading accuracy and fluency than in the control group. Interaction effects revealed that students with an initial lower performance (i.e., at the frustration level) showed higher increases in reading accuracy. Furthermore, 2nd graders showed higher increases throughout the intervention while the 4th graders stablished their progress after the first 10 sessions of intervention. Despite the study’s limitations, the findings support the positive impact that online peer tutoring can have on promoting students’ reading skills, adding to the ongoing discussion—which has gained a special emphasis with the COVID-19 pandemic—about the development of effective strategies to promote reading abilities in the first years of school.

From understanding a simple DC motor to developing an electric vehicle AI controller rapid prototype using MATLAB-Simulink, real-time simulation and complex thinking

2 weeks 2 days ago

Electric drives have been used in several applications, such as electric vehicles, industry 4.0, and robotics. Thus, it is mandatory to promote updated electric drive courses that allow students to design novel solutions in these engineering areas. However, traditional undergraduate courses that only cover theoretical aspects and do not allow students to interact and produce practical results through experimentation are insufficient today. The students are not exposed to educational innovation, so they have difficulties proposing original solutions. On the other hand, conventional theoretical and laboratory courses in which students follow specific directions for achieving predefined goals do not allow students to create novel solutions and integrate the innovation process as a standard methodology. Moreover, beginning in 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic forced professors to implement digital tools and materials to continue education intensively. This proposed course presents an alternative to promote practical and theoretical knowledge in students. Besides, engineering students must create innovative solutions to increase the quality of life in rural and urban communities, which calls for novel experimental approaches. Electric drives are fundamental elements in electric systems and industrial processes proposed to save energy or control electric machines. In addition, industries urge specialized engineers who can tackle complex industrial problems. The proposed educational methodology can be implemented in manufacturing, agriculture, robotics, and aerospace. Hence, low-cost devices to validate the proposed solutions became used by students to achieve novel solutions using electric drives. This paper describes an undergraduate course called “Digital Control of Electric Machines” (electric drives) and its implementation of the Tec21 Educational Model of Tecnologico de Monterrey, V Model, MATLAB/ Simulink, low-cost hardware, and complex thinking. The content of the course begins with electric machine models and power electronics that allow students to move from the basic to the advanced industrial electric drive problems in a friendly manner. In addition, the V-model and Modelo Tec 21 are used as fundamental pillars of the leading innovative structure of the proposed course. The results showed that students mastered several soft and hard skills to accomplish complex design goals, including controlling an electric rapid prototype vehicle.

Finnish teachers’ and students’ programming motivation and their role in teaching and learning computational thinking

2 weeks 2 days ago

Despite the growing importance of teaching and learning computational thinking (CT) through programming in schools, research has shown major individual differences in teachers’ instruction emphasis and students’ skills in these topics.


This study aims to shed further light on the role that teachers’ and students’ programming motivation plays in CT.


The topic is approached from the viewpoint of the self-determination theory, which can help to understand teachers’ instruction and students’ learning. Our sample consisted of Finnish Grade 8 teachers (N = 1,853) and students (N = 2,546) who participated in the International Computer and Information Literacy Study (ICILS) in 2018. Focusing on teachers’ CT instruction emphasis, students’ CT test scores, and the Intrinsic Motivation Inventory, we investigate (1) distributions of teachers’ and students’ responses to intrinsic and extrinsic programming motivation questions, (2) associations between teachers’ and students’ programming motivation and their background factors, and (3) associations between programming motivation and teachers’ CT instruction emphasis and students’ CT test scores. The data was analyzed by examining descriptive statistics, computing mean differences and correlation coefficients and by performing (multiple) linear regression models.


The results showed that teachers had high extrinsic programming motivation, but the extent of their intrinsic programming motivation varied widely based on their prior programming teaching experience, subject taught, and gender. Students, in turn, reported both high intrinsic and extrinsic motivation toward programming, but boys were generally more motivated for programming than girls. High programming motivation was moderately related to teachers’ higher CT instruction emphasis and students’ higher CT test scores.


The findings give a strong incentive to pay attention to increasing especially girls’ programming motivation and providing teachers with positive CT experiences relevant to their subject and with a particular objective to increase intrinsic motivation especially among teachers who lack prior programming teaching experience and interest in the topic.

Gamified flipped learning in a French foreign language class: Efficiency and student perception

3 weeks 1 day ago

To enhance student engagement in a French foreign language course, two active learning methods were combined: Flipped learning and gamification. This study aimed to explore the efficiency of these teaching methods in a foreign language course with beginner learners and to assess student's perception of the experience. A total of 215 students were enrolled in this university elective course. All sections were taught by the same instructor during one semester. All students experienced both the flipped learning methodology and a traditional teaching approach. The results indicate that students' scores in the gamified quizzes were better when they prepared in advance for the sessions and had a flipped learning session. Moreover, in a questionnaire that was completed at the end of the term, students reported that they preferred the flipped learning sessions because such sessions helped them to better understand and memorize the textual material. Students also appreciated the use of gamification tools to help them learn with interest.

Every cloud has a silver lining: The experience of online learning in English language classes at Saudi universities in the post–COVID-19 era

3 weeks 1 day ago

This study investigates the perceptions of 149 English language students about online language learning at a state university in Saudi Arabia and how this experience has prepared them to continue online learning in post-pandemic times. It also investigates any differences in students’ attainment of the four language skills of reading, listening, writing, and speaking with respect to the online learning experience. Data were collected using a questionnaire with close-ended items with each item having an open-ended query. The findings of the study indicate that, overall, the students had positive attitudes toward learning English online whether during the pandemic or after it is over. However, their views differed regarding the acquisition of the four language skills; learning the receptive skills of reading and listening online was perceived positively, while learning the productive skills of writing and speaking online was perceived negatively as a result of the online learning mode. The study concludes that more advanced technical features are needed to be introduced onto online learning platforms for more effective learning outcomes and that the current platforms at universities fall somewhat short of the English language students’ needs.

Investment opportunity of blockchain technology in the education sector of Saudi Arabia: A systematic literature review

1 month ago

The primary objective of this research is to explore the literature on blockchain technology and its investment opportunity in the education sector. Studies on the investment opportunities of blockchain technology in education have remained limited and little is known about the existing state of knowledge and practice of blockchain technology in the education sector of Saudi Arabia, especially for its sustainable development. In this study, the author tried to synthesise literature on blockchain technology to understand the difficulties and prospects of this technology in Saudi Arabia. A total of 15 empirical studies from 2017 to 2020 were reviewed. The descriptive and thematic analysis identified four types of challenges of blockchain technology in the education sector. They include leaking privacy and security, processing cost, setting the boundaries, and weakening school credentials. The review also revealed several opportunities for adopting blockchain technology such as certifying identity authentication, improving learning assessment, maintaining student records, enhancing trust, and reducing costs. Implications and recommendations related to education for sustainable development are provided accordingly.

Twelve years of iPads and apps in schools: What conditions support effective practices in K-6 classrooms?

1 month ago

Since their release in 2010, iPads and their associated apps have been touted as ‘game changers’ for schools struggling with technology provisioning issues, that limited their ability to fully leverage the educational potential of digital devices on a ‘whole class’ basis. Since then, a variety of schemes have been implemented such as ‘Bring Your Own Device’ (BYOD) and portable ‘device pods’, as systems for improving access to, and utilisation of, mobile technologies in classroom curriculum. In many schools, concurrent to these initiatives have been improvements in technology infrastructure, including upgrades to external connectivity via the advent of high-speed fibre-based broadband, and internally through the establishment of school wifi networks and associated online security systems. Aligned with these developments has been a growing body of research exploring how teachers at all levels of education systems have incorporated these new resources into their curriculum, and examining what, if any, benefits have resulted. This article is an analysis of key findings from four published studies undertaken by the author between 2015 and 2021 in New Zealand K-6 schools, to build understanding of factors that contributed to the effective practices with mobile devices witnessed in the research classrooms. While numerous separate studies have been undertaken exploring specific outcomes from the use of iPads and other mobile technologies in different educational contexts, the analysis presented in this article attempts to identify common factors existing across four purposively selected studies, that contributed to their success. The studies were deliberately chosen to provide a broad overview of applications of this technology in different K-6 classrooms for different purposes, supporting deeper understanding of the factors that underpin effective teaching and learning with and through mobile devices, in schools. This is important, as it builds knowledge of the fundamental foundations to effective educational use of mobile devices, regardless of the learning context in which they are used, and could assist teachers in designing, implementing and assessing curricular that optimises the learning potential of these devices.

Play—An essential part of children’s lives and their computational empowerment

1 month 1 week ago

This article addresses the computational empowerment of children, with an emphasis on the importance of play in realizing it. Although play has been brought up as central for children within numerous disciplines, there is a lack of thorough treatment of the phenomenon in the context of technology design, computational thinking, and computational empowerment. The objective of this research is to open the eyes of adults to see children’s play and improvisation as not only an essential part of children’s life but also an important part of their computational empowerment. We organized numerous participatory design sessions with children (aged 5–6 years), during which play was supported to obtain material for designing a music game. We analyzed the collected data with a framework combining aspects on computational empowerment and play. Our analysis of the sessions showed that play had numerous important functions in the design sessions with the children. Our examination revealed that play is intertwined with computational empowerment in many ways and it supports different aspects of computational empowerment. We recommend that researchers offer various forms of play for children during design sessions to support children’s creativity, narratives, embodiment, and, ultimately, their computational empowerment.

Re-Live History: An immersive virtual reality learning experience of prehistoric intangible cultural heritage

1 month 1 week ago

The use of immersive virtual reality for learning is a growing opportunity that has so far suffered from limited application in the classroom, particularly with students in the 11 to 12 year bracket. Due to more concern being shown toward usability rather educational goals, mixed feelings exist about the technology’s ability to teach. Meanwhile, historical games usually have fun as the main or sole objective, which may cause problems by diminishing the value of the depicted cultural heritage and supersede the intended learning outcomes of the experience. This research aims to contribute toward this gap by working closely with teachers in developing an immersive virtual reality learning experience to teach prehistoric intangible cultural heritage to history students aged 11 to 12 years. The research question of this study is how to go about designing an immersive learning experience for secondary school teachers to teach 11 to 12 year old students about prehistoric cultural heritage on which very little documented evidence is available. To this end, the Re-Live History project was built upon a virtual reality navigation experience of a Maltese Neolithic hypogeum, adding a representation of intangible cultural heritage in the form of human behavior. A content requirement study from heritage experts’ perspective was carried out, followed by a similar study from the history teachers’ perspective. These provided which learning outcomes can be potentially addressed by the immersive learning experience, what form of intangible cultural heritage can be represented, and what success criteria were to be used for its evaluation. A prototype of the experience was then developed and reviewed by the heritage experts and subsequently developed into the experience evaluated by teachers and heads of department. Evaluation was carried out in terms of authenticity relative to the historic site, ease of navigation, impact in terms of achievable learning outcomes, and utility in the classroom. This ensured that educational objectives were given priority and should help teachers embrace and adopt the technology in the classroom. Future work should pilot the use of the IVR in the classroom and provide further empirical evidence to its ability to help such students achieve the learning outcomes expected by the syllabus.

Back to basics: A role of reading, writing, and arithmetic teaching

1 month 1 week ago

This study has assessed the role of reading, writing, and arithmetic teaching among adult learners in Saudi Arabia. A quantitative approach was used by recruiting 186 students divided into three groups, namely, the write to learn (WTL) group, traditional teaching group, and individual technology use (ITU) group. Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) was used for the analysis of the arithmetic and literacy test scores of the students. The findings showed that the performance of the WTL group was most effective among the three groups. The results showed that the learning capacity of adults could be improved by refining their writing and reading skills. The formative feedback, collaborative environment, and engagement helped improve the learning scores. It shows that the use of information and communication technology (ICT) should be accurately implemented along with the formation of a collaborative environment.