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Exploring Approaches to Teaching Programming in 12th Grades Students. A Study after 20 Years of Teaching

Spyridon Doukakis
Department of Informatics, Ionian University, Corfu, Greece

Abstract—From the school year 1999-2000, the course entitled "Informatics" is taught to 12th grade students who attend the scientific field "Sciences of Economy and Informatics" in Greek secondary education. The school students of this field wish to participate in the national examinations to be admitted to university departments of economics and informatics. The general purpose of the course is for school students to develop analytical and synthetic thinking, to acquire methodological skills and to be able to solve problems in a programming environment. The purpose of the study is to explore educators’ views on teaching algorithm in the 12th grade in order to explore whether interventions and changes in the way of approaching teaching are required. For this purpose, 1127 computer science educators who teach the course "Informatics" in schools participated in a survey to explore these issues. The results of the present study focus on the ways in which educators approach the basic algorithmic structures (sequence, selection and loops), data structures and modular programming as well as the ways in which the computer lab is used for teaching the content of the course. According to the results of the research, it seems that one out of three educators wants to approach the course with a specific programming language instead of a hypothetical Greek programming language designed specifically for the course. In addition, 50% of the educators gives great emphasis on the virtual execution of programs. At the same time, six out of ten use the computer lab in some way during the course, for the teaching needs of the course. The results show a diversity in educators’ teaching approaches when teaching algorithmic structures of sequence, selection and loops. Particularly high diversity is observed during the teaching of modular programming. Finally, the results of the research show the importance of educators’ training in issues concerning their pedagogical content knowledge and their technological content knowledge.
Index Terms—Algorithmic approaches, programming, quantitative research, teaching informatics

Cite: Spyridon Doukakis, "Exploring Approaches to Teaching Programming in 12th Grades Students. A Study after 20 Years of Teaching," International Journal of Learning and Teaching, Vol. 8, No. 1, pp. 15-22, March 2022. doi: 10.18178/ijlt.8.1.15-22

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