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ERIC Number: EJ1147647
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2017
Pages: 8
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-0009-4056
"It's Like a Giant Brain with a Keyboard": Children's Understandings about How Computers Work
Robertson, Judy; Manches, Andrew; Pain, Helen
Childhood Education, v93 n4 p338-345 2017
Thirty years ago, when personal computers were first becoming available in homes and schools, a large group of primary school-age children were asked to share their attitudes about computers, their conceptions regarding how computers function, and their beliefs concerning computers' agency. The researchers wanted to gather baseline data regarding children's ideas about computers to study how these ideas changed as technology advanced. An important aspect of the study was to ascertain children's conceptual models of how computers operate, with the concern that an inadequate or flawed conceptual model would hamper children's ability to generalize or deepen their computer skills. In order to understand what children today know and believe about computers, the authors interviewed 18 children (eight boys) between 5 and 8 years old from two state-funded primary schools in a Scottish city. The children were asked questions about understanding what computers are, how computers are programmed, and whether computers have agency. The interviews provide insight into children's understanding of the technology they encounter in their everyday lives. In spite of their knowledge about and experience with using computers, they generally did not know how computers work or how they might be programmed. They had mixed views about a computer's agency. The article contains guidance for practitioners who wish to teach computing concepts to their learners.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Elementary Education
Audience: Practitioners
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: United Kingdom (Scotland)
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A