Research article: Beyond Programming and Crafts: Towards Computational Thinking in Basic Education

Sinikka Pöllänen, University of Eastern Finland, Finland
Kari Pöllänen, Cloudia Ltd, Finland

Continually increasing demands are being placed on the educational system to prepare students with technical skills due to the exponential implementation of information, technology and automation in the workforce. Students should work with design, problemsolving and computational methods and tools early on in their school lives in basic education and across diverse areas of learning. It has been argued that a fundamental understanding of technology requires computational thinking. However, teachers have difficulties integrating technology and programming into students’ active learning in crafts. In this systematic literature review, the main aim is to view descriptions of programming through craft science-based concepts of craft labour and, thereafter, to seek examples to enable teaching programming in craft education during basic education. Considering the selection criteria to undertake the analysis, the final data set comprised of 10 articles dealing with programming and craft, and 68 articles describing the possibilities of combining crafting and programming in basic education. According to the results, it seems that contemporary multi-material and design-based holistic craft may encompass different forms of technology and programming such as prototyping, robotics, microcontrollers, 3D modelling, applications for documentation, visualisation, share-out and storytelling via multiple channels. These all help students to learn computational thinking as they start out with design and practical problems and proceed to technology-mediated programming skills. It is hoped that the findings will provide theoretical perspectives for practitioners and policymakers to see the mutual benefit arising from the integration of crafts, technology and computation in basic education.

Key words:
basic education, computational thinking, craft (käsityö), craft education, design and technology education, programming

Download pdf: Beyond Programming and Crafts

This research article is part of InnoKomp -project.

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