‘Scratch Options!’ further information...

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  • Scratch Options!’

Social problem-solving abilities and CT of 4th and 5th grade students

In the context of the advancing digitalization permeating all areas of life, digital competencies are gaining in significance. Therefore, digital competencies and Computational Thinking (CT) have to be addressed and promoted within the educational context. Focusing on these areas, however, should not lead to neglecting other fundamental competencies of students. This relates especially to social-emotional competencies and their promotion in school, as the individual abilities of students influence the social interactions in the classroom and thus class climate.

‘Scratch Options!’ tries to build a bridge, so that promoting social-emotional and digital competencies are not mutually exclusive, but complement and build on each other. In the project, students will program interactive stories related to social-emotionally challenging situations with the help of the child-friendly programming language Scratch (graphic building block system). Creating these stories should foster their social-emotional competencies, as well as their CT.

The goal is to develop, test and evaluate a type of joint promotion of these competencies (CT and social-emotional competencies) within the class structure, so teachers can rely on evidence-based interventions. The contents (social-emotionally challenging situations) should address concrete challenges within the classroom, in order to enable tailored interventions.

The following aspects will be addressed in particular:

  1. Social-emotional challenges within the classroom setting
    • Identifying social-emotionally challenging situations from a students’ and teachers’ perspective
    • Reflecting, verbalizing, discussing and debating these situations in small groups
    • Identifying and developing solution options for these situations
  2. Application of Scratch with students
    • Playfully acquiring and teaching the features and options of the programming language Scratch
    • Visualizing social-emotionally challenging situations and solution options through interactive stories with Scratch
  3. Evaluation and Transference
    • Analyzing effects on CT as well as social-emotional competencies and specific interactions
    • Studying transference of social problem-solving abilities to class climate and social interactions
    • Evaluating long-term effects
  4. Development of measuring instruments 
    • Developing, testing and validating specific instruments to measure CT, social-emotional competencies, class climate, etc.

In a first step, the focus is on 4th and 5th grade students within the ‘Scratch Options’ project, as the social challenges vary greatly in these two age groups. Between the 4th and 5th grade, Austrian students face a drastic transition process from primary to secondary school. The educational context differs vastly in those two grades, especially in terms of social interactions and performance demands. Concepts for workshops will be developed, which (a) generate social-emotionally challenging situations and solution options in a participative manner along with the students, (b) put the link between Scratch and social-emotional competencies to the test. In a next step, a prototype of the intervention will be developed and subsequently implemented and evaluated nationally as well as internationally.

  • Cooperating partners: RCIE and University of Graz
  • Researchers:
    • Univ.-Prof. Dr. Barbara Gasteiger-Klicpera, Katharina Maitz, PhD MA BA BA, Ass.-Prof. Mag. Lisa Paleczek, PhD
    • Master thesis: Claudia Danielowitz, Katharina Deutsch, Sophia Kefer, Michael Strobl
    • Students of the seminar ‘Empirical Research Methods in Inclusive Education’: Ricarda Derler, Esther Feiertag, Arnela Hadziomerovic, Olaa Hamoud, Katherina Koch Waldner, Nina Kowarik, Birgit Lukitsch, Tanja Nuster, Lisa Pint, Lena Prenneis, Florian Quinesser, Miriam Tuider

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Cooperating partners

 Kirchliche Pädagogische Hochschule Graz  Pädagogische Hochschule Steiermark  Universität Graz 

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