Open-source pilot applications for developing early analytical thinking skills through demonstrating basic programming concepts

This work deploys visual programming as an avenue for developing analytical thinking among primary school children through wider blended learning that combines age appropriate inquiry-based individual exploration and class collaboration. The approach is mainly based on graphical interfaces of on-line available educational tools that serve as complementary tools in the context of science education curricula. The design and development of pilot learning activities are based on infrastructure such as Flash and Flex for on-line deployment, aiming at graphically demonstrating basic programming concepts useful to analytical thinking.

The proposed visual programming tools are expected to develop structural and critical thinking skills by exposing pupils to analytical problem solving and modelling, starting from goal setting and ending with decision making. Especially, the first activity focuses on the demonstration of basic analytical concepts and algorithm visualization. The second one is based on problem deconstruction and modeling of problem through breaking it down into smaller components. And the last one focuses on solution synthesis and decision making through graphically demonstration of opted solutions.

What is more, the designed graphical demonstrators of the above activities will be available on the web site: http://cminds.org. The central objective is to reach a wide group of stakeholders, ranging from the primary education sector to the academic community.

Moreover, a validation strategy will be developed early on and will identify specific output success indicators in terms of effectiveness in a collaborative school network. Especially, it will have a wide European footprint engaging schools in Greece, the Czech Republic, Romania, and Sweden to guarantee that educational practices and activities are congruous and compatible with educational needs in the north, south, east, and west of the continent.

This work is partly funded by the Life Long Learning Programme of the European Commission.

This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. This communication reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

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