Journal of Research in Science, Mathematics and Technology Education

Computational Thinking Workshop: A New Way to Learn and Teach Mathematics

Journal of Research in Science, Mathematics and Technology Education, Volume 6, Issue 2, May 2023, pp. 99-119
OPEN ACCESS VIEWS: 639 DOWNLOADS: 504 Publication date: 12 May 2023
In this digital era, technology has entered every aspect of our life, including educational system. Computational thinking (CT) and programming are a relatively recent part of certain school curricula. The idea of CT was originated in 1950s, and the first usage of the term CT was by Papert in 1980; the notion/concept was refreshed by Wing in 2006. CT is the focus of attention for many researchers, such as Gadanidis , Namukasa,  Kotsopoulos, Curzon, diSessa, Farris,  Sengupta and so on ; they argued that using CT tools, ideas and activities in mathematics pedagogies and curricula contributes to learning in creative and imaginative ways. In this paper, the ways that students interact with their peers during CT and mathematical thinking activities are investigated in the context of an instrumental case study of 10 elementary students. Observational, interview, and reflection data collected during two workshops were analyzed to determine the ways in which the activities impacted students’ interacting and understanding. Students engaged in three CT activities: symmetry app, Scratch program, and Sphero robot. As a result, CT activities allow students to learn mathematical concepts better, when they are working with CT ideas and activities. This study was limited in its sampling as it only focused on primary grades 3 - 6 in a private school. For future studies, the researchers suggest conducting a study that will include public schools and involve tools for teaching mathematics concepts.
Computational thinking (CT), Mathematical thinking (MT), Reform mathematics education, Mathematics concepts.
Zuod, R., & Namukasa, I. (2023). Computational Thinking Workshop: A New Way to Learn and Teach Mathematics. Journal of Research in Science, Mathematics and Technology Education, 6(2), 99-119.
  1. Aho, A. V. (2012). Computation and computational thinking. The Computer Journal, 55(7), 832–835.
  2. Angeli, C., Voogt, J., Fluck, A., Webb, M., Cox, M., Malyn-Smith, J., & Zagami, J. (2016). A K-6 computational thinking curriculum framework: implications for teacher knowledge. Journal of Educational Technology & Society, 19(3), 47.
  3. Barr, D., Harrison, J., & Conery, L. (2011). Computational thinking: A digital age skill for everyone. Learning & Leading with Technology, 38(6), 20–23.
  4. Barr, V., & Stephenson, C. (2011). Bringing computational thinking to K-12: what is Involved and what is the role of the computer science education community? Acm Inroads, 2(1), 48–54.
  5. Benton, L., Hoyles, C., Kalas, I., & Noss, R. (2017). Bridging primary programming and mathematics: Some findings of design research in England. Digital Experiences in Mathematics Education, 3(2), 115-138. doi:10.1007/s40751-017-0028-x
  6. Bienkowski, M., Snow, E., Rutstein, D. W., & Grover, S. (2015). Assessment design patterns for computational thinking practices in secondary computer science: A first look. SRI International.
  7. Bocconi, S., Chioccariello, A., Dettori, G., Ferrari, A., Engelhardt, K., Kampylis, P., & Punie, Y. (2016, June). Developing computational thinking: approaches and orientations in K-12 education. In EdMedia+ Innovate Learning (pp. 13-18). Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE).
  8. Borba, M. C., Askar, P., Engelbrecht, J., Gadanidis, G., Llinares, S., & Aguilar, M. S. (2016). Blended learning, e-learning and mobile learning in mathematics education. Zdm, 48(5), 589-610. doi:10.1007/s11858-016-0798-4.
  9. Borba, M. C. & Villarreal, M. E. (2005) Humans-With-Media and the Reorganization of Mathematical Thinking: information and communication technologies, modeling, experimentation and visualization. New York: Springer.
  10. Brasil Ministry of Education, BNCC (2017). Base Nacional Comum Curricular [The National Common Curricular Base]. Brasilia, DF: Brazil.
  11. Brennan, K., & Resnick, M. (2012). New frameworks for studying and assessing the development of computational thinking. In Proceedings of the 2012 annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association, Vancouver, Canada (pp. 1–25).
  12. Bruner, J. S. (2009). The process of education. Harvard University Press.
  13. Cohen, L., Manion, L., & Morrison, K. (2007). Research methods in education.
  14. Routledge.
  15. Creswell, J. W. (2015). Educational research: Planning, conducting, and evaluating quantitative and qualitative research, enhanced pearson eText with loose-leaf version--access card package (Fifth). Pearson Education Inc.
  16. Curzon, P., McOwan, P. W., Plant, N., & Meagher, L. R. (2014). Introducing teachers to computational thinking using unplugged storytelling. In Proceedings of the 9th workshop in primary and secondary computing education (pp. 89–92).
  17. diSessa, A. A. (2018). Computational literacy and “the big picture” concerning computers in mathematics education. Mathematical thinking and learning, 20(1), 3-31.
  18. Dorouka, P., Papadakis, S., & Kalogiannakis, M. (2020). Tablets and apps for promoting robotics, mathematics, STEM education and literacy in early childhood education. International Journal of Mobile Learning and Organisation, 14(2), 255-274.
  19. Duzhin, F., & Tan, J. S. (2023). Analytics for WhatsApp chats: tracking and visualising students' collaboration in project teams. International Journal of Mobile Learning and Organisation, 17(1-2), 149-179.
  20. Farris, A. V., & Sengupta, P. (2014). Perspectival computational thinking for learning physics: A case study of collaborative agent-based modeling. arXiv preprint arXiv:1403.3790.
  21. Fowler, S., Cutting, C., Kennedy, J., Leonard, S. N., Gabriel, F., & Jaeschke, W. (2021). Technology enhanced learning environments and the potential for enhancing spatial reasoning: a mixed methods study. Mathematics Education Research Journal, 1-24.
  22. Gadanidis, G. (2015). Coding as a Trojan Horse for mathematics education reform. Journal of Computers in Mathematics and Science Teaching, 34(2), 155–173.
  23. Gadanidis, G. (2017). Five affordances of computational thinking to support elementary mathematics education. Journal of Computers in Mathematics and Science Teaching, 36(2), 143–151.
  24. Gadanidis, G., Hughes, J. M., Minniti, L., & White, B. J. G. (2017). Computational thinking, Grade 1 students and the Binomial Theorem. Digital Experiences in Mathematics Education, 3(2), 77–96.
  25. Government of Canada (2017). Government of Canada launches $50-million coding program for young Canadians. Available at
  26. Grover, S., & Pea, R. (2013). Computational thinking in K--12: A review of the state of the field. Educational Researcher, 42(1), 38–43.
  27. Haeck, C., Lefebvre, P., & Merrigan, P. (2011). All students left behind: An ambitious provincial school reform in Canada, but poor math achievements from grade 2 to 10. Available at SSRN 1966937.
  28. Higginson, W. (2017). From children programming to kids coding: Reflections on the legacy of Seymour papert and half a century of digital mathematics education. Digital Experiences in Mathematics Education.
  29. Hsu, T. C., Chang, S. C., & Hung, Y. T. (2018). How to learn and how to teach computational thinking: Suggestions based on a review of the literature. Computers & Education, 126, 296-310.
  30. ICMI. (2017). ICMI study 24 school mathematics curriculum reforms: challenges, changes and opportunities. IMU. studies/ICMI STUDY 24 Discussion Document FINAL 15 Dec 2017.pdf
  31. Jenson, J., & Droumeva, M. (2016). Exploring Media Literacy and Computational Thinking: A Game Maker Curriculum Study. Electronic Journal of e-Learning, 14(2), 111-121.
  32. Kafai, Y. B. (2016). From computational thinking to computational participation in K--12 education. Communications of the ACM, 59(8), 26-27.
  33. Kafai, Y. B., Fields, D. A., & Searle, K. A. (2014). Electronic textiles as disruptive designs: Supporting and challenging maker activities in schools. Harvard Educational Review, 84(4), 532-563.
  34. Kafai, Y., Proctor, C., & Lui, D. (2019, July). From Theory Bias to Theory Dialogue: Embracing Cognitive, Situated, and Critical Framings of Computational Thinking in K-12 CS Education. In Proceedings of the 2019 ACM Conference on International Computing Education Research (pp. 101-109). ACM.
  35. Kopcha, T. J., Ocak, C., & Qian, Y. (2020). Analyzing children’s computational thinking through embodied interaction with technology: a multimodal perspective. Educational Technology Research and Development, 1-26.
  36. Kotsopoulos, D., Floyd, L., Khan, S., Namukasa, I. K., Somanath, S., Weber, J., & Yiu, C. (2017). A pedagogical framework for computational thinking. Digital Experiences in Mathematics Education, 3(2), 154–171.
  37. Kyriakides, A. O., Meletiou-Mavrotheris, M., & Prodromou, T. (2016). Mobile technologies in the service of students’ learning of mathematics: the example of game application ALEX in the context of a primary school in Cyprus. Mathematics Education Research Journal, 28(1), 53-78.
  38. Lee, I., Martin, F., Denner, J., Coulter, B., Allan, W., Erickson, J., … Werner, L. (2011). Computational thinking for youth in practice. Acm Inroads, 2(1), 32–37.
  39. Lu, J. J., & Fletcher, G. H. L. (2009). Thinking about computational thinking. ACM SIGCSE Bulletin, 41(1), 260–264.
  40. Merino-Armero, J. M., González-Calero, J. A., Cózar-Gutiérrez, R., & Villena-Taranilla, R. (2018). Computational thinking initiation. An experience with robots in primary education. Journal of Research in Science Mathematics and Technology Education, 1(2), 181-206.
  41. Namukasa, K. I., & Patel, M. (2017). Tools for Integrating Computational Thinking and Mathematics in the Middle Grades. Issues, 1(1).
  42. OECD (2020), Global Teaching InSights: A Video Study of Teaching, OECD Publishing, Paris,
  43. Ontario Ministry of Education, OME (2020). The Ontario curriculum, Grades 1-8 mathematics.
  44. Ortiz, A. M., Bos, B., & Smith, S. (2015). The power of educational robotics as an integrated STEM learning experience in teacher preparation programs. Journal of College Science Teaching, 44(5), 42–47.
  45. Papert, S. (1980). Mindstorms: Children, computers, and powerful ideas. Basic Books, Inc.
  46. Resnick, M. (1995). New paradigms for com puting, new paradigms for thinking. In Computers and exploratory learning (pp. 31–43). Springer.
  47. Resnick, M., Maloney, J., Monroy-Hernández, A., Rusk, N., Eastmond, E., Brennan, K., ... & Kafai, Y. (2009). Scratch: Programming for all. Communications of the ACM, 52(11), 60-67.
  48. Ross, J. A., Hogaboam-Gray, A., & McDougall, D. (2002). Research on reform in mathematics education, 1993-2000. Alberta Journal of Educational Research, 48(2), 122.
  49. Sanford, J. F., & Naidu, J. T. (2016). Computational thinking concepts for Grade school. Contemporary Issues in Education Research (Online), 9(1), 23–32.
  50. Sun, L., Hu, L., & Zhou, D. (2022). Programming attitudes predict computational thinking: Analysis of differences in gender and programming experience. Computers & Education, 181, 104457.
  51. Suurtamm, C., Koch, M., & Arden, A. (2010). Teachers’ assessment practices in mathematics: Classrooms in the context of reform. Assessment in Education: Principles, Policy & Practice, 17(4), 399–417.
  52. Tedre, M., & Denning, P. J. (2016, November). The long quest for computational thinking. In Proceedings of the 16th Koli Calling International Conference on Computing Education Research (pp. 120-129). ACM.
  53. Vallera, F. L., & Bodzin, A. M. (2017). Agricultural Literacy, Integrated STEM, and Innovative Technology: An Engaging Combination. The Agricultural Education Magazine, 89(5), 25.
  54. Vygotsky, L. S. (1980). Mind in society: The development of higher psychological processes. Harvard university press.
  55. Wang, C., Shen, J., & Chao, J. (2021). Integrating Computational Thinking in STEM Education: A Literature Review. International Journal of Science and Mathematics Education, 1-24.
  56. Weintrop, D., Beheshti, E., Horn, M., Orton, K., Jona, K., Trouille, L., & Wilensky, U. (2016). Defining computational thinking for mathematics and science classrooms. Journal of Science Education and Technology, 25(1), 127–147.
  57. WILKERSON‐JERDE, M. I. C. H. E. L. L. E., Wagh, A., & Wilensky, U. (2015). Balancing curricular and pedagogical needs in computational construction kits: Lessons from the DeltaTick project. Science Education, 99(3), 465-499.
  58. Wing, J. M. (2006). Computational thinking. Communications of the ACM, 49(3), 33–35.
  59. Yadav, A., Hong, H., & Stephenson, C. (2016). Computational thinking for all: pedagogical approaches to embedding 21st century problem solving in K-12 classrooms. TechTrends, 60(6), 565–568.
  60. Yin, R. (2009). Case Study Research: Design and Methods, SAGE Publications.
  61. Zakaria, E., Chin, L. C., & Daud, M. Y. (2010). The effects of cooperative learning on students’ mathematics achievement and attitude towards mathematics. Journal of Social Sciences, 6(2), 272–275.
  62. Zhong, B., & Xia, L. (2020). A systematic review on exploring the potential of educational robotics in mathematics education. International Journal of Science and Mathematics Education, 18(1), 79-101.
  63. Zuod, R. (2019). Computational and mathematics thinking workshops for students with their Parents: Nature, Benefits, Challenges, and Feedback. London, Ont.: Faculty of Education, University of Western Ontario.
Creative Commons License