Active learning for problem solving in programming in a computer studies method course
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This paper presents an implementation of active-learning-based teaching model for teaching a topic on programming techniques in an undergraduate computer science education course which prepares students to teach the Botswana General Certificate of Science Education (BGCSE) computer studies subject. This programming topic is very crucial for developing lifelong skills in problem-solving and critical thinking skills; skills that are of crucial importance in the career of computing graduates. The topic has always been very difficult to master for pre-service computer studies students who have very little programming experience. We suggest this active learning approach for the reason that the students actively participate during the discussion, and the course tutor can easily identify the alternative conceptions that the students have, and be able to provide the necessary help to the future computer studies teachers. Active learning is a constructivist teaching approach that actively engages students in the learning process. The students learn problem-solving by doing, through a step-by-step process, and always build on what they already know previously. It uses different methodological interaction techniques, thereby improving student understanding of the programming concepts and the general motivation to learn more. We also discuss the role of the teacher in active learning approach.