Investigating the Pedagogical Content Knowledge of Teachers Attending a MOOC on Scratch Programming

  • Ebrahim RahimiEmail author
  • Ineke Henze
  • Felienne Hermans
  • Erik Barendsen
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 11169)


The goal of this study is to investigate changes in PCK (Pedagogical Content Knowledge) of Dutch primary and secondary computer science teachers participating in a MOOC about Scratch programming. We captured the teachers’ PCK using identical pre- and post-questionnaires and conducted a qualitative deductive-inductive content analysis to identify changes in the PCK of the MOOC attendees. We relate the observed differences between PCK before and after the MOOC to Clarke and Hollingsworth’s model of teacher professional growth and Van Driel and Henze’s model of PCK development. Our analysis gives rise to four design principles meant to inform the pedagogical design of such MOOCs and improve their pedagogical affordances with regard to PCK development of their attendees.


Pedagogical content knowledge Computer science education Secondary education MOOC Scratch programming 


  1. 1.
    Barendsen, E., Dagienė, V., Saeli, M., Schulte, C.: Eliciting computer science teachers’ PCK using the Content Representation format: experiences and future directions. In: Gülbahar, Y., Karataş, E., Adnan, M. (eds.) Proceedings of the 7th International Conference on Informatics in Schools: Situation, Evolution and Perspectives (ISSEP 2014), Selected Papers, pp. 71–82 (2014)Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Berglund, A., Lister, R.: Introductory programming and the didactic triangle. In: Proceedings of the Twelfth Australasian Conference on Computing Education, vol. 103, pp.35–44. Australian Computer Society, Inc. (2010)Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Buchholz, M., Saeli, M., Schulte, C.: PCK and reflection in computer science teacher education. In: Proceedings of the 8th Workshop in Primary and Secondary Computing Education, pp. 8–16. ACM (2013)Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Burns, M.: Distance Education for Teacher Training: Modes, Models and Methods. Education Development Center Inc., Washington (2011)Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Clarke, D., Hollingsworth, H.: Elaborating a model of teacher professional growth. Teach. Teach. Educ. 18(8), 947–967 (2002)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Daehler, K.R., Heller, J.I., Wong, N.: Supporting growth of pedagogical content knowledge in science. In: Re-examining Pedagogical Content Knowledge in Science Education, pp.55–69. Routledge (2015)Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Dikke, D., Faltin, N.: Go-Lab MOOC-an online course for teacher professional development in the field of inquiry-based science education. In: 7th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies (2015)Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Elo, S., Kyngäs, H.: The qualitative content analysis process. J. Adv. Nurs. 62(1), 107–115 (2008)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Evens, M., Elen, J., Depaepe, F.: Developing Pedagogical Content Knowledge: Lessons Learned from Intervention Studies. Education Research International 2015 (2015)Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Fyle, C.O.: Teacher education MOOCs for developing world contexts: issues and design considerations. In: Proceedings of the Sixth Conference of MIT’s Learning International Networks Consortium (LINC) (2013)Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Gess-Newsome, J.: A model of teacher professional knowledge and skill including PCK. In: Berry, A., Friedrichsen, P., Loughran, J. (eds.) Re-examining Pedagogical Content Knowledge in Science Education, pp. 28–42. Routledge (2015)Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Go, S., Dorn, B.: Thanks for sharing: CS pedagogical content knowledge sharing in online environments. In: Proceedings of the 11th Workshop in Primary and Secondary Computing Education, pp. 27–36. ACM (2016)Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Greeno, J.G., Collins, A.M., Resnick, L.B.: Cognition and learning. In: Berliner, D.C., Calfree, R.C. (eds.) Handbook of Educational Psychology, pp. 15–46. Macmillan, New York (1996)Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Grossman, P.L.: The Making of a Teacher: Teacher Knowledge and Teacher Education. Teachers College Press, New York (1990)Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Henze, I., Van Driel, J.H.: Toward a more comprehensive way to capture PCK in its complexity. In: Berry, A., Friedrichsen, P., Loughran, J. (eds.) Re-examining Pedagogical Content Knowledge in Science Education, pp. 120–134. Routledge (2015)Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Hubwieser, P., Magenheim, J., Mühling, A., Ruf, A.: Towards a conceptualization of pedagogical content knowledge for computer science. In: Proceedings of the Ninth Annual International ACM Conference on International Computing Education Research, pp. 1–8. ACM (2013)Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Lister, R.: Concrete and other neo-piagetian forms of reasoning in the novice programmer. In: Proceedings of the Thirteenth Australasian Computing Education Conference, vol. 114, pp. 9–18. Australian Computer Society, Inc. (2011)Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Loughran, J., Mulhall, P., Berry, A.: In search of pedagogical content knowledge in science: developing ways of articulating and documenting professional practice. J. Res. Sci. Teach. 41(4), 370–391 (2004)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Magnusson, S., Krajcik, J., Borko, H.: Nature, sources, and development of pedagogical content knowledge for science teaching. In: Gess-Newsome, J., Lederman, N.G. (eds.) Examining Pedagogical Content Knowledge, pp. 95–132. Kluwer, Dordrecht (1999)Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    Misra, P.K.: MOOCs for teacher professional development: reflections and suggested actions. Open Praxis 10(1), 67–77 (2018)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Park, S., Chen, Y.C.: Mapping out the integration of the components of pedagogical content knowledge (PCK): examples from high school biology classrooms. J. Res. Sci. Teach. 49(7), 922–941 (2012)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Qian, Y., Hambrusch, S., Yadav, A., Gretter, S.: Who needs what: recommendations for designing effective online professional development for computer science teachers. J. Res. Sci. Teach., 1–18 (2018)Google Scholar
  23. 23.
    Rahimi, E., Barendsen, E., Henze, I.: Typifying Informatics teachers’ PCK of designing digital artefacts in dutch upper secondary education. In: Brodnik, A., Tort, F. (eds.) ISSEP 2016. LNCS, vol. 9973, pp. 65–77. Springer, Cham (2016). Scholar
  24. 24.
    Rahimi, E., Barendsen, E., Henze, I.: Identifying students’ misconceptions on basic algorithmic concepts through flowchart analysis. In: Dagiene, V., Hellas, A. (eds.) ISSEP 2017. LNCS, vol. 10696, pp. 155–168. Springer, Cham (2017). Scholar
  25. 25.
    Ross, J., Sinclair, C., Knox, J., Macleod, H.: Teacher experiences and academic identity: the missing components of MOOC pedagogy. J. Online Learn. Teach. 10(1), 57 (2014)Google Scholar
  26. 26.
    Saeli, M.: Teaching Programming for Secondary School: a Pedagogical Content Knowledge Based Approach. Ph.D. thesis, Eindhoven University of Technology, The Netherlands (2012)Google Scholar
  27. 27.
    Shulman, L.: Knowledge and teaching: foundations of the new reform. Harv. Educ. Rev. 57(1), 1–23 (1987)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. 28.
    Van Driel, J.: Model-based development of science teachers’ pedagogical content knowledge. In: International Seminar, Professional Reflections, National Science Learning Centre, York (2010)Google Scholar
  29. 29.
    Van Driel, J.H., Henze, I.: Extended paper for PCK summit, Colorado (2012).
  30. 30.
    Van Driel, J.H., Verloop, N., de Vos, W.: Developing science teachers’ pedagogical content knowledge. J. Res. Sci. Teach. 35(6), 673–695 (1998)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. 31.
    Van Merriënboer, J.J.: Strategies for programming instruction in high school: program completion vs. program generation. J. Educ. Comput. Res. 6(3), 265–285 (1990)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. 32.
    Yadav, A., Berges, M., Sands, P., Good, J.: Measuring computer science pedagogical content knowledge: An exploratory analysis of teaching vignettes to measure teacher knowledge. In: Proceedings of the 11th Workshop in Primary and Secondary Computing Education, pp. 92–95. ACM (2016)Google Scholar
  33. 33.
    Yadav, A., Gretter, S., Hambrusch, S.: Challenges of a computer science classroom: initial perspectives from teachers. In: Proceedings of the Workshop in Primary and Secondary Computing Education, pp. 136–137. ACM (2015)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ebrahim Rahimi
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Ineke Henze
    • 3
  • Felienne Hermans
    • 3
  • Erik Barendsen
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Radboud UniversityNijmegenThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Open UniversityHeerlenThe Netherlands
  3. 3.Delft University of TechnologyDelftThe Netherlands

Personalised recommendations