Type of Publication: Article in Collected Edition

What do Students Want to Know About the Digital World? - Investigating Students' Interest in CS through self-generated Questions

Napierala, S.; Batur, F.; Brinda, T.
Title of Anthology:
The 16th Workshop in Primary and Secondary Computing Education (WiPSCE '21), October 18--20, 2021, Virtual Event, Germany
ACM Press
New York, NY, USA
Publication Date:
students' self-generated questions, students' interests, digital world, gender, computer science education
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
Talk associated with this publication:
The 16th Workshop in Primary and Secondary Computing Education (WiPSCE '21)
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Interest affects not only a person's personality development and professional career, but it is also an important motivator in the learning process. Despite this, in computer science education, there is a lack of empirical studies on student-specific interests. With this study, we hope to bridge some of the gaps by analyzing the interests of 7th to 10th grade students based on 252 self-generated questions about the digital world. These questions were categorized using four separate category systems derived in part from other research: fields of the digital world, thematic content, type of information requested, and motivation for asking the question. In addition, an analysis of gender and age differences was carried out.
The findings suggest that data security and privacy are topics of great concern to students of this age group. Furthermore, students are interested in learning how to program apps or software. This also refers to students who have never taken a computer science class in school. Significant differences were found between boys' and girls' motivation for raising questions. For instance, boys asked significantly more questions about applicative knowledge that they could put to use. Finally, we discuss how self-generated questions and interests of students can enhance computer science education.