Algorithmics for Preschoolers—A Contradiction?

DOI: 10.4236/ce.2013.49081   PDF   HTML     4,051 Downloads   5,883 Views   Citations


Developing an algorithm requires expressing it in some (formal) language. The respective language is usually understood to be textual (conventional programming language) or partly graphical (design languages, and languages in programming environments for children). As writing and reading are capabilities not to be presumed from preschoolers, many educators claim that confronting such young kids with algorithmic concepts is beyond their abstraction capability. This paper reports on an experiment with kindergarten-groups requiring them to discover simple algorithms without resorting to reading and writing. It clearly showed that limited capabilities of abstractions are not a hurdle at all, if the problems are posed in a way corresponding to the limited experience base of the children, and if solutions are small enough to be kept in memory and allow expressing themselves in other forms than writing.

Share and Cite:

Mittermeir, R. (2013). Algorithmics for Preschoolers—A Contradiction?. Creative Education, 4, 557-562. doi: 10.4236/ce.2013.49081.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


[1] Berggren, J. L. (2011). Mathematik im mittelalterlichen Islam. New York: Springer, Heidelberg, Springer-Verlag.
[2] Bischof, E., & Mittermeir R. (2008). Informatik-erLeben. Institut f. Informatiksysteme. Klagenfurt: Universitat Klagenfurt.
[3] Denning, P. J. (2004). The field of programmers myth. Communica tions of the ACM, 47, 15-20. doi:10.1145/1005817.1005836
[4] Furber, S. et al. (2012). Shut down or restart? The way forward for computing in UK Schools. London: The Royal Society.
[5] Futschek, G., & Moschitz, J. (2011). Learning algorithmic thinking with tangible objects eases transition to computer programming. In Proceedings of the 5th ISSEP, informartics in schools—Contributing to 21st century education (pp. 155-164). Berlin: Heidelberg, Springer.
[6] Harel, D. (1987). Algorithmics: The spirit of computing. Boston: Addi son Wesley Publishing.
[7] Hromkovic, J. (2006). Contributing to general education by teaching informatics. In Proceedings of the 2nd ISSEP, informatics educa tion—The bridge between using and understanding computers (pp. 25-27). Berlin: Heidelberg, Springer.
[8] Kolczyk, E. (2008). Algorithm—Fundamental concept in preparing in formatics teachers. In Proceedings of the 3rd ISSEP, informatics education—Supporting computational thinking (pp. 265-271). Berlin: Heidelberg, Springer.
[9] Korfhage, R. R. (1983). Algorithm. In A. Ralston, & E. D. Reilly Jr. (Eds.,), Encyclopedia of Computer Science and Engineering (2nd ed., pp. 51-54). New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold Company Inc.
[10] Maly, K. (1984). Algorithms. In A. H. Seidman, & I. Flores (Eds.), The handbook of computers and computing (pp. 805-814). New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold Company Inc.
[11] Marciniak, J. J. (1994). Encyclopedia of software engineering. New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons.
[12] Mittermeir, R. (2010). Informatikunterricht zur Vermittlung allgemeiner Bildungswerte. In Proc. 25 Jahre Schulinformatik in Osterreich: Zu kunft mit Herkunft (pp. 54-73). Wien: OCG Schriftenreihe.
[13] Mittermeir, R. T., Bischof, E., & Hodnigg K. (2010). Showing core concepts of informatics to kids and their teachers. In Proceedings of the 4th ISSEP, teaching fundamental concepts of informatics (pp. 143-154). Berlin: Heidelberg, Springer.
[14] Sentance, S., Dorling, M., & McNicol, A. (2013). Computer science in secondary schools in the UK: Ways to empower teachers. Proceed ings of the 6th ISSEP, informatics in schools: Sustainable informat ics education for pupils of all ages (pp. 15-30). Berlin: Heidelberg, Springer.
[15] Shipley, G., Vanderspoel, J., Mattingly, D., & Foxhall L. (2006). The Cambridge dictionary of classical civilization. Cambridge: Cam bridge University Press.
[16] Tort, F., & Drot-Delange, B. (2013). Informatics in the French second dary curricula: Recent moves and perspectives. In Proceedings of the 6th ISSEP, informatics in schools: Sustainable informatics education for pupils of all ages (pp. 31-42). Berlin: Heidelberg, Springer.
[17] Williams, M. R. (1997). A history of computing technology (2nd ed.). Los Alamitos, CA: IEEE Press.
[18] Wilson, C., Sudol, L. A., Stephenson, Ch., & Stehlik, M. (2010). Run ning on empty: The failure to teach K-12 computer science in the digital age, ACM and csta.
[19] Wing, J. M. (2006). Computational thinking. Communications of the ACM, 49, 33-35.

comments powered by Disqus

Copyright © 2020 by authors and Scientific Research Publishing Inc.

Creative Commons License

This work and the related PDF file are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.