Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository

Thesis Format

Monograph

Degree

Master of Arts

Program

Education

Supervisor

Namukasa, Immaculate

Abstract

This qualitative study explores the nature of engagement of pupils with their parents in mathematics thinking (MT) activities in the context of integration of computational thinking (CT). It specifically investigates the ways students and their parents interact during CT and MT activities, as well as the role, benefits and challenges of parental engagement with their children during these activities. The study was framed in the constructionist framework of learning by making and situated in literature on integration of CT in teaching school curricula as well as literature on parental involvement and on mathematics instructional reform.

In this instrumental case study of eight (parent-child) pairs’ engagement observations, interviews, and reflection data during CT and MT workshops were collected and analyzed to determine the ways in which CT activities enrich mathematical concepts and encourage engagement between parents and children in the workshop. All children and parents that participated in the two workshop sessions felt that the CT activities (Symmetry, Sphero, and Scratch) enriched mathematical concepts. This study also found that CT activities encouraged parents and children to work together and engage together during the sessions. Several of the children and parents were excited about what they referred to as a more interesting and interactive way to learn math and learning how to code. Parents and children agreed that CT and MT activities should be integrated into mathematics curricula.

This study was limited in its sampling as it only focused on children in primary grades 3 through 6 in a religious-based private school. For future studies, the researcher suggests conducting a study that will include several schools including public schools and will involve more specific CT tools for teaching mathematics concepts. The researcher also recommends conducting CT workshops over a three-day period so that children do one activity each day rather than all three distinct activities in one session. Implications for teachers and school principals are to offer CT and similar workshops for longer and consecutive sessions during which adequate devices are available and at which parents are educated about the benefits of involvement in their children's mathematics learning.

Summary for Lay Audience

Several researchers and educators maintain that using computational thinking tools and activities in teaching school curricular contributes to learning in creative and imaginative ways. Also, computational thinking activities lead to an improved student achievement, interest and enjoyment in learning content that several students experience as difficult, boring, and less relevant.

This study investigates the ways that parents interact during their children learning, and this study was framed in the learning by making.

In this study of eight (parent-child) pairs’ engagement observations, interviews, and reflection data during computational thinking workshops were collected and analyzed to determine the ways in which computational thinking activities enrich mathematical concepts and encourage engagement between parents and children in the workshop. All children and parents that participated in the two workshop sessions felt that the computational thinking activities enriched mathematical concepts. This study also found that computational thinking activities encouraged parents and children to work together and engage together during the sessions. Several of the children and parents were excited about what they referred to as a more interesting and interactive way to learn math and learning how to code. Parents and children agreed that computational thinking activities should be integrated into mathematics curricula.

This study was limited in its sampling as it only focused on children in primary grades 3 through 6 in a religious-based private school. For future studies, the researcher suggests conducting a study that will include several schools including public schools and will involve more specific computational thinking tools for teaching mathematics concepts. The researcher also recommends conducting computational thinking workshops over a three-day period so that children do one activity each day rather than all three distinct activities in one session.

Implications for teachers and school principals are to offer computational thinking and similar workshops for longer and consecutive sessions during which adequate devices are available and at which parents are educated about the benefits of involvement in their children's mathematics learning.

Available for download on Tuesday, September 01, 2020

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