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Integrating Computational Thinking in STEM Education: A Literature Review

Abstract

Research focusing on the integration of computational thinking (CT) into science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education started to emerge. We conducted a semi-systematic literature review on 55 empirical studies on this topic. Our findings include: (a) the majority of the studies adopted domain-general definitions of CT and a few proposed domain-specific CT definitions in STEM education; (b) the most popular instructional model was problem-based instruction, and the most popular topic contexts included game design, robotics, and computational modelling; (c) while the assessments of student learning in integrated CT and STEM education targeted different objectives with different formats, about a third of them assessed integrated CT and STEM; (d) about a quarter of the studies reported differential learning processes and outcomes between groups, but very few of them investigated how pedagogical design could improve equity. Based on the findings, suggestions for future research and practice in this field are discussed in terms of operationalizing and assessing CT in STEM contexts, instructional strategies for integrating CT in STEM, and research for broadening participation in integrated CT and STEM education.

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Notes

  1. Djambong and Freiman (2016) included participants from both upper elementary and middle school levels, and it was counted in both categories.

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Wang, C., Shen, J. & Chao, J. Integrating Computational Thinking in STEM Education: A Literature Review. Int J of Sci and Math Educ (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10763-021-10227-5

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Keywords

  • Computational thinking
  • STEM education
  • Instructional strategies
  • Assessment
  • Equity