Mobile devices provide many opportunities for teaching computer science concepts, from problem-solving activities using puzzle-like apps to writing programs to achieve specific goals using visual programming apps. Learning computational logic on tablets that can be carried around means instant gratification for students, as they can share their programs with their friends, check for errors, and receive immediate feedback on their work. We will look at apps that will help students to understand computer science terminologies and concepts such as ‘algorithm’, ‘procedures’, ‘variable’, ‘sequences’, ‘loops’, ‘decomposition’ and ‘conditionals’, and we will suggest the use of ‘unplugged’ activities away from the computer where appropriate. Additionally, we will explore children’s problem-solving activities on tablets as a context for them to actively construct knowledge through experiment and discovery. Based on a constructionist learning approach, this constant and continual ‘problem-solving’ process also enables children to develop knowledge about their learning as they exercise the planning, decision-making, organising, testing and evaluating skills that are fundamental to metacognitive awareness (Fisher, 2005; Schraw et al., 2006; Sternberg, 1998). Alongside this, we are aware that selecting suitable apps and designing appropriate activities to support learners to develop specific skills, and achieve desired learning outcomes, is a vital but a difficult task. We will therefore share activity ideas for some of the apps we discuss, to be used across the year groups, with examples.
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