S. Hinterplattner, M. Rottenhofer, I.Groher, B. Sabitzer: Exploring Students' Experiences and Perceptions of Computer Science: A Survey in Austrian Secondary Schools, In Proceedings of the 14th International Conference on Computer Supported Education, CSEDU, April 22-24, 2022, online, Volume 2, ISBN 978-989-758-562-3, ISSN 2184-5026, pages 238-247, 2022, DOI: 10.5220/0011049000003182
Companies regularly report difficulties in recruiting ICT specialists. The shortage of skilled women in this domain is especially prevailing. Research shows that early exposure to STEM may spark children’s interest and influence their future choice of careers. Children’s understanding and conceptualization of their physical environment strongly influence their ability to grasp STEM concepts and their learning outcomes in related subjects. The goal of our work is to provide a better picture of children’s conceptions before they are confronted with computer science as a subject in school. To investigate students’ preconceptions on computer science, a study with 188 students from 5th grade was conducted before they first experienced computer science lessons in school. We asked questions regarding perceptions of and experiences with computer science. Our results show that both groups of students who identified themselves as female and those who identify themselves as male, have a narrow view of computer science and associate the field mainly with computers. Despite the narrow view, many students show an interest in computer science but only few want to work in this field in the future. Students who identified themselves as male have a significantly higher interest in the field than those who identified themselves as female.