2019-04-18Zeitschriftenartikel DOI: 10.18452/20122
A framework to foster problem-solving in STEM and computing education
Background: Recent developments in STEM and computer science education put a strong emphasis on twenty-first-century skills, such as solving authentic problems. These skills typically transcend single disciplines. Thus, problem-solving must be seen as a multidisciplinary challenge, and the corresponding practices and processes need to be described using an integrated framework. Purpose: We present a fine-grained, integrated, and interdisciplinary framework of problem-solving for education in STEM and computer science by cumulatively including ways of problem-solving from all of these domains. Thus, the framework serves as a tool box with a variety of options that are described by steps and processes for students to choose from. The framework can be used to develop competences in problem-solving. Sources of evidence: The framework was developed on the basis of a literature review. We included all prominent ways of domain-specific problem-solving in STEM and computer science, consisting mainly of empirically orientated approaches, such as inquiry in science, and solely theory-orientated approaches, such as proofs in mathematics. Main argument: Since there is an increasing demand for integrated STEM and computer science education when working on natural phenomena and authentic problems, a problem-solving framework exclusively covering the natural sciences or other single domains falls short. Conclusions: Our framework can support both practice and research by providing a common background that relates the ways, steps, processes, and activities of problem-solving in the different domains to one single common reference. In doing so, it can support teachers in explaining the multiple ways in which science problems can be solved and in constructing problems that reflect these numerous ways. STEM and computer science educational research can use the framework to develop competences of problem-solving at a fine-grained level, to construct corresponding assessment tools, and to investigate under what conditions learning progressions can be achieved.
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This article was supported by the Open Access Publication Fund of Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin.