PhD Project: Introducing programming and computational thinking into the common core curriculum for primary and secondary schools in Norway

PhD Fellow Kristine Sevik

Programming and computational thinking (CT) became part of the mandatory education in Norway from August 2020 with the introduction of the new national curriculum. Programming is explicitly mentioned in four subjects: Mathematics, Science, Arts and Crafts, and Music, often referred to as the STEAM subjects.

The term Computational thinking was introduced by Seymour Papert,  related to the work with the programming language LOGO for teaching children programming. CT was strongly linked to programming and the belief that the thinking skills related to creating programs could be transferred to other subject domains. The more recent discourse about computational thinking skills as necessary for all, and the initiatives to integrate CT into obligatory education, focus more on problem solving, attitudes and skill sets, than creating programs. Though an agreed-upon definition of CT does not exist, most descriptions of CT skills refer to concepts such as abstraction, step-by-step procedures, automation, decomposition, debugging, and generalization. The Norwegian Directorate for Education and Training also emphasize approaches such as tinkering, creating, persevering and collaborating. In Norwegian CT is translated to “algoritmisk tenkning”.

This project aims to investigate how teaching of programming and computational thinking are being implemented in Norwegian schools as a result of the new national curriculum. It is also of interest to compare the Norwegian implementation strategy with similar initiatives in other countries. The focus will be on the Norwegian, and to some extent, the Nordic approach to integrating CT and programming in obligatory education. 

The research project aims to investigate the introduction of CT and programming from the micro, meso and macro level of education by collecting data from teachers and school leaders, local government and review of national policies. The research will combine perspectives from education, pedagogy and information systems. One goal is to add to the body of knowledge regarding Computational Thinking and programming in common core subjects in primary and secondary education.

Author bio

Kristine Sevik works as a research fellow at the Department of Information Systems and is a member of the Centre for Digital Transformation (CeDIT) at the University of Agder. She has a cand. polit. degree in Information Science from the University of Bergen. She has worked on the digitalization of education for many years in Utdanningsdirektoratet (Directorate for Education and Training) , Norwegian Centre for ICT in Education and UNINETT.

Supervisors: Cathrine Tømte and Øystein Sæbø

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