Av Johan Gehrisch & Anna Ellerstrand Törnwall
The constant growth of technology in our world is changing the way of life all around us. We now have self-driving cars that are programmed by us to drive so we don’t have to. The fact that most of us can’t go a day without using something that is programmed or engineered to suit our needs is the way of life for kids nowadays. In this essay we have chosen to study programming in a preschool context. The Swedish government is planning to implement a new curriculum in 2018 that will be more focused on digital knowledge. There is very little historical research on what knowledge and skills children acquire and develop when they work with programming so we wanted to do research on this subject. We have interviewed preschool teachers in southern Sweden and created an activity where we studied preschool children playing with programming tools in a social context to gather data on the subject. We have analyzed and interpreted our data with the help of Lev Vygotsky’s sociocultural theory. Our results showed that all of the teachers thought programming was a good tool to work with in preschool and gave us examples of benefits from working with programming. Most of them talked about learning through social interaction and said that the children developed better mathematical skills, social skills, problem solving skills and computational thinking. In our modern world, where our contact with technology is constantly growing, research shows that having an early understanding of basic programming and the digital world will be highly beneficial in the future.