Domain-Specific Theories of Teaching Computing: Do they Inform Practice?

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Computing education research applies theories from the social sciences to build deep understanding of factors that influence students’ learning process in different educational settings; but in recent years, computing education researchers have increasingly developed domain-specific theories and models that address the challenges and phenomena specific to computing education. Several literature surveys have addressed these developments. However, little attention has been given to whether these domain-specific theories and models have actually been applied to improve pedagogical practices in computing education. In this paper, we explore domain-specific theories and models that are related to teaching computing. We present these constructs and report our findings about their impact on computing education pedagogies, based on our analysis of publications that cite the original papers presenting these theories or models. Based on the analysis of 1048 papers published between 2005 and 2022 in the International Computing Education Research Conference (ICER) and the journals Computer Science Education and ACM Transactions on Computing Education, we identified 31 papers that present relevant theoretical developments in these areas. We further analyze how these papers have been cited and discuss their identified pedagogical use cases in the citing papers. In general, our results show that while many papers refer to these theories and models, there are few concrete connections to presented pedagogical settings and few implications for further research. However, the papers themselves present interesting and relevant pedagogical ideas. We discuss these observations and make recommendations for reporting such connections and implications.
computing education, theory, theoretical construct, research, method, pedagogy
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Malmi, L, Sheard, J, Sinclair, J, Kinnunen, P & Simon 2024, Domain-Specific Theories of Teaching Computing: Do they Inform Practice? in Koli Calling '23: Proceedings of the 23rd Koli Calling International Conference on Computing Education Research ., 17, ACM, Koli Calling - International Conference on Computing Education Research, Lieksa, Finland, 13/11/2023 .