Journal of Science Education and Technology

, Volume 25, Issue 2, pp 274–283 | Cite as

Review and Discussion of Children’s Conceptions of Computers

  • Michael T. Rücker
  • Niels Pinkwart


Today’s children grow up surrounded by computers. They observe them, interact with them and, as a consequence, start forming conceptions of how they work and what they can do. Any constructivist approach to learning requires that we gain an understanding of such preconceived ideas and beliefs in order to use computers as learning tools in an effective and informed manner. In this paper, we present five such conceptions that children reportedly form about computers, based on an interdisciplinary literature review. We then evaluate how persistent these conceptions appear to be over time and in light of new technological developments. Finally, we discuss the relevance and implications of our findings for education in the contexts of conceptual pluralism and conceptual categorisation.


Literature review Conceptions Constructivism  Computational devices Computer science education Technology education 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Computer Science DepartmentHumboldt-Universität zu BerlinBerlinGermany

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