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An in-depth analysis of programming in the Swedish school curriculum : Rationale, knowledge content and teacher guidance

  • Vinnervik, Peter
Publication Date
Jan 01, 2022
DOI: 10.1007/s40692-022-00230-2
DiVA - Academic Archive On-line
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This paper reports a study of Swedish curriculum documents for compulsory school in order to unfold how novel programming content is communicated to the main policy enactors, that is, the teachers. Specifically, the study focusses on: (1) arguments for why programming is relevant and for what purposes, (2) what programming knowledge that is specified and (3) what guidance the curriculum documents provide to help teachers realise the programming content in their teaching. Text analysis was used as method of analysis. Two conceptual frameworks were used during analysis to identify and classify arguments for computer science in compulsory education, and to identify types of programming knowledge. Results reveal that the curriculum documents are sparse on details about what programming knowledge entails. Instead, programming is mainly presented as an interdisciplinary tool to achieve other learning goals. Guidance is given mainly in the form of cautious suggestions on how the work can be organised and through broad explanations and examples of how programming can be useful. However, some important and difficult strategic decisions are left entirely to the teachers without any clear guidance. The programming message in its entirety is communicated through several texts from different subjects. Altogether, this may complicate teachers’ process of transforming the curriculum into teaching and learning activities. In turn, there is a risk of inequality amongst schools and that the programming experience for the children becomes fragmented, superficial, misses out on key points, or is omitted, in part or in whole.

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