A critical analysis of Computational Thinking (Whakaaro Hangarau), Computer Science (Mātai Rorohiko) and Computer Programming (Papatonotanga) Digital Technology (Hangarau Matihiko) in New Zealand schools. A dissertation by Marc Williams for the degree of Master of Education, University of Auckland  2022

CHAPTER 6 - METHODOLOGY

6.1 Rationale for analysis

        The qualitative descriptive study of this dissertation is to look at the intricate relationship between Computational Thinking, Computer Science and Computer Programming in a school context with a lens on Māori and Pasifika students in New Zealand. This study also aims to follow the principle goal that a dissertation review is to “summarise the accumulated state of knowledge concerning the relation(s) of interest and to highlight important issues that research has left unresolved" (Al-Zahrani & Laxman, 2016).  

6.2 Search process

        The peer reviewed literature articles referred to in this dissertation were sourced from the University of Auckland's The Catalogue Libraries and Learning Services database and Google Scholar using keywords; ‘Computational Thinking’, ‘Computer Science’, ‘Coding’, ‘Programming’, ‘Digital Technologies’ and ‘Hangarau Matihiko’. The search was limited to articles from 2015 to ensure relevance given the rate of technological change and the recent integration of Computational Thinking in schools internationally. Exceptions were made when referencing historical articles like Wing’s 2006 highly referenced dissertation (Ministry of Education, 2017). To complement this research a variety of educational online resources such as the New Zealand Ministry of Education and TKI websites and other education focused websites are referenced throughout this dissertation.

 

6.3 Inclusion and exclusion criteria

        Included in this study is the New Zealand Digital Skills Forum ‘Digital Skills Effort Survey 2021’ as it is the most up to date research data and addresses and raises significant issues and opportunities especially in relation to Māori and Pasifika students (New Zealand Tech Alliance, 2021)

The survey is from the New Zealand Tech Alliance, a group of not-for-profit, non-governmental independent technology organisations from across New Zealand that work together to ensure a strong voice for technology (New Zealand Tech Alliance, 2022). “For the first time ever, data from our Digital Skills Survey has been aggregated across the entire digital skills pipeline, from school to tertiary education, from education to employment, from within the market and from immigration. The research found system wide challenges requiring urgent national attention, a lack of coordinated effort, dramatic skills challenges driving a heavy reliance on immigration and under investment in developing the existing workforce. The success of the digital technology sector is critical for New Zealand’s future. It is one of the fastest growing parts of the New Zealand economy, generating billions of dollars in exports and creating thousands of jobs each year. The sector is also enabling the digitalisation of the rest of the economy and underpinning this are people with digital skills(New Zealand Digital Skills Forum, 2021).  

 

Excluded from this study are University of Auckland's The Catalogue Libraries and Learning Services database articles sourced from keyword searches that mainly focused on Computer Programming and Coding unless they provided a significant contribution to the advancement of Computational Thinking and Computer Science in schools. 

6.4 Scope and limitations of this study

        This scope of this study examines current findings of Computational Thinking, Computer Science and Computer Programming in a school context with a lens on Māori and Pasifika students in New Zealand. Points of discussion include the Digital Technologies | Hangarau Matihiko curriculum, challenges and strategies in teaching Computational Thinking and Computer Science and teachers professional development in these areas. 

There are significant gaps in the literature of Computational Thinking, Computer Science & Computer Programming which this dissertation does not dwell on but are significant enough for future research and are referred to in Chapter 1.4.

 

The limitations of this dissertation include no in-depth descriptions or academic literature research of the seven fields of Computational Thinking, the sixteen fields of Computer Science or Computer Programming. 

His dissertation does not focus on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) or eLearning but acknowledges that Computational Thinking, Computer Science & Computer Programming are inherent in these fields.

Each of these limitations are significant bodies of work in their own right and their impact on the broader overarching areas of Computational Thinking, Computer Science & Computer Programming.

The scope and limitations of this dissertation are also imposed by the type of study and word length requirements.