Analyzing computational thinking studies in Scratch programming: A review of elementary education literature



Scratch, Computational Thinking, Programming, Coding, Elementary Education


Computational Thinking (CT) has become popular in recent years and has been recognized as an essential skill in the digital age. CT literature, however, is at an early stage of development, and there is no consensus among researchers/scholars and to date, many scholars and practitioners have been unable to concretely explain what CT is, or how to teach or assess this skill set. The purpose of this literature review is to examine papers that focus on CT in terms of elementary education, elementary-aged learners, and related issues/considerations in order to provide a better understanding of the CT in an elementary context. An inductive qualitative content analysis was conducted on 61 papers set in elementary school settings about CT from 2010-2020. Five main themes emerged from the review: exploiting tangible blocks in a physical coding environment, integrating Scratch into various disciplines through programming, Scratch gaming for computational thinking, evaluating computational thinking skills through Scratch projects, and teaching and learning methods/factors affecting CT in children. Implications for practice and directions for future research are discussed.


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Author Biography

William H. Stewart, Hankuk University of Foreign Studies

WILLIAM H. STEWART, EdD, is the Inbound Exchange Student Program Manager at Hankuk University of Foreign Studies, where he coordinates all aspects of inbound exchanges. He specializes in transnational and international education, particularly where these fields intersect with distance education. His research focuses on student motivations for, and experiences with distance education in cross-border settings with a focus on the Korean context. He earned a doctorate in Educational Technology from Boise State University, where he also works on STEM+CT related research projects.


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How to Cite

Stewart, W., & Baek, K. (2023). Analyzing computational thinking studies in Scratch programming: A review of elementary education literature. International Journal of Computer Science Education in Schools, 6(1), 35–58.