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Theme: Computing Education

In this theme we investigate teaching and learning aspects of computing science (in Dutch: ‘vakdidactiek informatica’). The topic is regarded in a broad sense, including digital literacy, for example. Our projects are carried out in various contexts, ranging from secondary education (schools) to higher education (universities). We collaborate with researchers in other Dutch universities (including OU, RUG, TU/e, TUD) and with groups abroad. We list some example projects below. (Contact Erik Barendsen or Sjaak Smetsers)

a) Programming education

Programming is considered a difficult skill, and many researchers have studied learning difficulties and possible instruction strategies. Current research activities focus on: learning object oriented programming, tools for visualization, and feed-back on code quality.

b) Digital literacy and computational thinking

Digital literacy involves knowledge, attitude, skills and behavior, see for example a recent advice by the Royal Academy of Sciences (KNAW). There is consensus about the importance of digital literacy in present-day society, but too little is known about adequate ways to develop it. An important aspect of digital literacy is computational thinking, a set of analytical skills necessary to recognize computing aspects in real-life problems, reformulating those problems in terms of information processing, and solving them with use of computers.

c) Development and testing of teaching materials

There is a great need for development and improvement of teaching modules, especially for secondary education. The department has already contributed to modules about cyber security, robotics, object oriented programming, and model checking.