Research Topic

Looking Ahead: Computational Thinking in K12 education

About this Research Topic

World-wide, in several countries, the term informatics is commonly used to refer to computer science (CS) and computing irrespectively to describe the disciplines that study and develop theories, model and applications of information technology. Computational thinking (CT) shares its elements with principles and concepts of those disciplines, as they are built upon similar foundations, such as algorithms, sequences and parallelization, control and automation, and data processing, representation and recognition.

Broadly speaking, CT refers to an approach of solving complex problems by applying a set of concepts, practices and dispositions which are fundamental to CS. In CS education, CT, a versatile concept that can be applied to different contexts, may be used as an aid to understand principles and concepts of CS.

In its broadest definition, different learning strategies can be considered within the scope of CT. For example, strategies like problem-based learning, collaborative learning, project-based learning, game-based learning, scaffolding or storytelling have been identified in the recent literature review.

What kind of subject and content matter can be recognized as a common educational arena for K-12 schools to practice and apply CT concepts and tools? What kind of educational approaches can provide interesting opportunities to apply CT and grasp abstract concepts of CT? Regardless of the increasing interest and continuous effort to integrate CT into K-12 education, there are still several critical issues: such as lack of consensus on operational definitions of CT, identifying CT skills, assessment methods, failures of integrating CT into curricula and in general. Thus, what we are lacking are ways to synthesize and integrate CT with existing educational practices. These issues together with a number of challenges associated with tools and environments at schools have arisen as central issues teachers need to confront with.

Within this specific focus of research, we will both aim to open a discussion about suitable approaches to integrate CT into K-12 education and to describe and elaborate on approaches for tackling the challenges presented above.

This Research Topic will explore some of the challenges and potential promises of CT. We are interested in empirical and non-empirical theoretical papers that demonstrate a wide variety of ideas and approaches related to different aspects connected to Computational Thinking in general.

We are particularly interested in articles that address some of the following topics:
- Educational experiences describing novel way in which educators have used CT in their teaching
- Theoretical definitions of CT
- Pedagogical approaches and CT
- 21th century skills and CT
- STE(A)M and CT
- Digital competencies and/or literacies for implementing CT
- Embedding computational thinking into the curriculum
- Assessment of CT
- Instructional design of lessons where CT is integrated into the activities
- Tools and methods to integrate CT into teaching and learning
- Empirical studies of effective practices of using CT
- Whole school approaches CT
- Pre- or in-service teacher education and CT

Articles should be underpinned by research and theory and should identify clear and practical implications for educational institutions and/or the community.


Keywords: computational thinking, informatics education, K-12, curriculum, assessment, teachers' competence development


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

World-wide, in several countries, the term informatics is commonly used to refer to computer science (CS) and computing irrespectively to describe the disciplines that study and develop theories, model and applications of information technology. Computational thinking (CT) shares its elements with principles and concepts of those disciplines, as they are built upon similar foundations, such as algorithms, sequences and parallelization, control and automation, and data processing, representation and recognition.

Broadly speaking, CT refers to an approach of solving complex problems by applying a set of concepts, practices and dispositions which are fundamental to CS. In CS education, CT, a versatile concept that can be applied to different contexts, may be used as an aid to understand principles and concepts of CS.

In its broadest definition, different learning strategies can be considered within the scope of CT. For example, strategies like problem-based learning, collaborative learning, project-based learning, game-based learning, scaffolding or storytelling have been identified in the recent literature review.

What kind of subject and content matter can be recognized as a common educational arena for K-12 schools to practice and apply CT concepts and tools? What kind of educational approaches can provide interesting opportunities to apply CT and grasp abstract concepts of CT? Regardless of the increasing interest and continuous effort to integrate CT into K-12 education, there are still several critical issues: such as lack of consensus on operational definitions of CT, identifying CT skills, assessment methods, failures of integrating CT into curricula and in general. Thus, what we are lacking are ways to synthesize and integrate CT with existing educational practices. These issues together with a number of challenges associated with tools and environments at schools have arisen as central issues teachers need to confront with.

Within this specific focus of research, we will both aim to open a discussion about suitable approaches to integrate CT into K-12 education and to describe and elaborate on approaches for tackling the challenges presented above.

This Research Topic will explore some of the challenges and potential promises of CT. We are interested in empirical and non-empirical theoretical papers that demonstrate a wide variety of ideas and approaches related to different aspects connected to Computational Thinking in general.

We are particularly interested in articles that address some of the following topics:
- Educational experiences describing novel way in which educators have used CT in their teaching
- Theoretical definitions of CT
- Pedagogical approaches and CT
- 21th century skills and CT
- STE(A)M and CT
- Digital competencies and/or literacies for implementing CT
- Embedding computational thinking into the curriculum
- Assessment of CT
- Instructional design of lessons where CT is integrated into the activities
- Tools and methods to integrate CT into teaching and learning
- Empirical studies of effective practices of using CT
- Whole school approaches CT
- Pre- or in-service teacher education and CT

Articles should be underpinned by research and theory and should identify clear and practical implications for educational institutions and/or the community.


Keywords: computational thinking, informatics education, K-12, curriculum, assessment, teachers' competence development


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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Submission Deadlines

31 January 2022 Abstract
31 May 2022 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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Topic Editors

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Submission Deadlines

31 January 2022 Abstract
31 May 2022 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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