|Ph.D Thesis||Department of Education in Science and Technology|
|Supervisor:||Prof. Emeritus Leron Uri|
Does Computer Literacy guaranty success in Computer Science (CS) learning as well? Not necessarily. Nevertheless, most Israeli students choose to learn CS in high-school according to their misguided perception of CS from their prior experience with computers (e.g. word processor, Internet search engines etc.). Therefore, in the following research, I implemented a new approach to teaching CS in the 8th grade (using MicroWorlds programming environment), which combined distance learning (with the InfoHub asynchronous Internet communication tool) and face-to-face meetings (Blended Course). The research objectives were to follow and investigate the learning effects of the innovative educational process from the following perspectives: attitude towards CS, CS learning results, self-regulation, and the development of community of learners.
The main analysis tool was inductive analysis of the courses’ web site threads and the scripts of the observations and interviews. The results indicate that the computerized learning environment bridged between the students’ naive mental model and the scientific model of CS, while coping with tasks that were relevant to the learners’ worlds. The model of the mechanism that evolved during the course distinguishes between three types of processes: External processes, based upon the computerized environment (e.g. Class communication enhancement, Learning Community etc.); Internal processes, reflecting students’ inner processes (e.g. Motivation factors, Meta-Cognitive factors etc.); and Control processes, dealing with the learning follow-up (e.g. Checking sub-products, Flexibility etc.). Since the processes are combined and there are inter-relationships between them, each one of them serves as a cog-wheel in the learning engine which stimulates the other ones to form the learning mechanism.