|Ph.D Student||Sakhnini Victoria|
|Subject||Problem Solving in Computer Science by High School Students:|
Definition, Implementation and Use of Abstract
|Department||Department of Education in Science and Technology||Supervisor||Professor Orit Hazzan|
This dissertation describes a study, conducted in 12th grade Computer Science classes. The students in these classes studied the fourth curricular unit known as "Software Design". This unit's main goal is to teach the basic principles of software system design, and to develop abstract thinking skills, especially by the definition, selection and usage of abstract data types.
More specifically, this research deals with studying the difficulties and the thinking processes involved in definition, implementation and use of abstract data types by high school students in problem solving situations.
To conduct the research, an ethnographic and constructivist approaches were adopted. The main data collection tools were observations in classes studying "Software Design", and interviews with the students as they solved problems.
Based on the data analysis, a theoretical framework "reducing the patternless level of problems by reducing abstraction" was developed. This theoretical framework is based on the theoretical framework of "reducing abstraction" (Hazzan, 1999).
According to the "reducing the patternless level of problems by reducing abstraction" framework, students sometimes, unconsciously, reduce the level of abstraction of the concepts involved in a problem solving situations in order to make unfamiliar/non-pattern problem more familiar/known pattern. Four mental processes by which students reduce the level of abstraction were identified (the first three ones are based on Hazzan, 1999):
research contributes to the understanding of high school students' difficulties
and thinking processes involved in learning Computer Science and solving
Computer Science problems. The thesis concludes with several recommendations
for the teaching of unit "Software Design" in the high school.
 Hazzan, O. (1999). Reducing abstraction level when learning abstract algebra concepts. Educational Studies in Mathematics 44, 71-90