Check out the CNN articles too
Check out a recent news article about our work on KELP-CS!
Gevirtz School Answers Computer Science for All: Develops Computer Science Curriculum for Kids
Credit: George Yatchisin
In his final State of the Union speech, President Obama exhorted the American educational system to ensure that every student in the country gets hands-on computer science and math training to set them up for success in college and careers alike.
Shortly thereafter, he announced the Computer Science for All Initiative to increase access to just such courses.
The Gevirtz School at UC Santa Barbara is responding to the president’s call by studying how elementary school students learn computer science in an effort led by Danielle Harlow, an associate professor of education at Gevirtz, and Diana Franklin, a former UCSB computer science faculty member now at the University of Chicago.
Fourth Grade Students Reading Block-Based Programs: Predictions, Visual Cues, and Affordances
Dwyer, H. A., Hill, C., Hansen, A., Iveland, A., Franklin, D, & Harlow, D.
Abstract. Visual block-based programming environments allow elementary school students to create their own programs in ways that are more accessible than in textual programming environments. These environments help students write code by removing syntax errors and reducing typing. Students create code by dragging, dropping, and snapping constructs together (e.g. blocks) that are organized by lists, colors, shape, images, etc. However, programming in visual block-based environments is not always simple; in fact, it can become complex quickly. In addition to elements that create code, the visual aspects of these environments provide readers information about what happens, when, and how. Here, we focus on how students used visual cues when reading programs in our block-based programming environment, Sandbox, a variant of Scratch. Specifically we identified the visual cues students noticed and acted upon. This included not only those that were intended by designers (perceptible affordances), but also those that were not intended by designers (false affordances). Through a detailed content analysis of 13 focus groups with fourth graders we created an initial taxonomy of visual cues in our programming environment and explored how students used these cues to make predictions about provided code, and the types of affordances such cues offered students.
Ali Hansen - one our of stellar graduate students - thoughtfully conceptualized, designed, and submitted a short paper for the Interaction Design and Children (IDC) conference this summer. We just found out it was accepted! Well done Ali and the entire KELP-CS team!
Interactive Design by Children: A Construct Map for Programming
Hansen, A. K., Dwyer, H. A., Hill, C., Iveland, A., Martinez, T., Harlow, D., & Franklin, D
Abstract. In this paper, we present our analysis of 92 fourth graders’ digital stories completed in Sandbox, a Scratch-like programming environment. Projects were analyzed for the way that students programmed the start of the story, and if the program integrated user-centered design by providing instruction to the user on how to interact with the digital story. We found that fourth grade students rarely utilized user-centered design while creating digital stories in our block-based programming environment. Without explicit instruction, the demands of learning programming and simultaneously programming for an abstract user may be too cognitively demanding for the average fourth grader.
A few of us have been talking about creating a larger presence for computer science education within AERA. In particular, we want to start a special interest group (SIG). Please take a few moments to fill out the following survey. I am trying to determine if there are enough people to start a SIG (we need 75), the benefits of doing so, and how a SIG would differ from ICER or SIGCSE.
Poll: Creating a SIG for Computer Science Education at AERA
Creating and sustaining a CS Education community within AERA could be exciting work to further establish the field. I would appreciate a forum to talk with researchers from Education who study computer science -- a view not necessarily captured well at other venues right now. We could also tailor such a group to K-12 computer science and other research topics such as professional development and teacher learning.
Please email me with any questions or comments. Forward on to your co-authors, advisors, colleagues, and other AERA members that could be interested!
Another wonderful conference at AERA! We were in Chicago, IL presenting our ideas about linguistic context in learning programming. Check out our poster and some of the pictures :)
I had a wonderful time in Kansas City this year! It was fun to see new and old faces all focused on improving computer science education. Check out our presentation on how we adapted a block-based programming environment for 4th graders:
"Coding for All"