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Engaging High School Students in Computer Science Through Music Remixing: An EarSketch-based Pilot Competition and Evaluation

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Conference

2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access

Location

Virtual Conference

Publication Date

July 26, 2021

Start Date

July 26, 2021

End Date

July 19, 2022

Conference Session

Computers in Education 3 - Modulus I

Tagged Division

Computers in Education

Tagged Topic

Diversity

Page Count

18

Permanent URL

https://strategy.asee.org/37045

Download Count

155

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Paper Authors

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Roxanne Moore Georgia Institute of Technology

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Roxanne Moore is currently a Research Engineer at Georgia Tech with appointments in the school of Mechanical Engineering and the Center for Education Integrating Mathematics, Science, and Computing (CEISMC). She is involved with engineering education innovations from K-12 up to the collegiate level. She received her Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from Georgia Tech in 2012.

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Sunni Haag Newton Georgia Institute of Technology

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Sunni Newton is currently a Senior Research Scientist at the Georgia Institute of Technology in the Center for Education Integrating Science, Mathematics, and Computing (CEISMC). Her research focuses on assessing the implementation and outcomes of educational interventions at the K-12 and collegiate levels. She received her MS and Ph.D. in Industrial/Organizational Psychology from Georgia Tech in 2009 and 2013, respectively.

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Meltem Alemdar Georgia Institute of Technology

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Dr. Meltem Alemdar is Associate Director and Principal Research Scientist at Georgia Tech's Center for Education Integrating Science, Mathematics, and Computing (CEISMC). Dr. Alemdar has experience evaluating programs that fall under the umbrella of educational evaluation, including K-12 educational curricula, K-12 STEM programs after-school programs, and comprehensive school reform initiatives. Across these evaluations, she has used a variety of evaluation methods, ranging from a multi-level evaluation plan designed to assess program impact to methods such as program monitoring designed to facilitate program improvement. She received her Ph.D. in Research, Measurement and Statistics from the Department of Education Policy at Georgia State University (GSU).

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Sabrina Grossman Georgia Institute of Technology

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Sabrina Grossman, Program Director in Science Education at Georgia Tech's Center for Education Integrating Science, Mathematics, and Computing (CEISMC), who focuses on curriculum development, program management, and support of teachers in STEM classrooms. She works on several NSF funded projects including EarSketch where she supports teachers using music composition to engage students in computer programming. Prior to her experience at CEISMC, she was classroom teacher for ten years and taught middle school Earth, Life, Physical, and Environmental Science along with High School Biology and Biomedical Sciences.

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Jason Freeman Georgia Institute of Technology

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Jason Freeman is a Professor of Music at Georgia Tech. His artistic practice and scholarly research focus on using technology to engage diverse audiences in collaborative, experimental, and accessible musical experiences. He also develops educational interventions in K-12, university, and MOOC environments that broaden and increase engagement in STEM disciplines through authentic integrations of music and computing. His music has been performed at Carnegie Hall, exhibited at ACM SIGGRAPH, published by Universal Edition, broadcast on public radio’s Performance Today, and commissioned through support from the National Endowment for the Arts. Freeman’s wide-ranging work has attracted support from sources such as the National Science Foundation, Google, and the Aaron Copland Fund for Music. He has published his research in leading conferences and journals such as Computer Music Journal, Organised Sound, NIME, and ACM SIGCSE. Freeman received his B.A. in music from Yale University and his M.A. and D.M.A. in composition from Columbia University.

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Jason Brent Smith Georgia Institute of Technology Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0002-7075-6132

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I am a PhD student in the Georgia Tech Center for Music Technology, studying various types of interaction between artificial intelligence and musicians. My research and education has included deep learning for music analysis and generation, deep learning-controlled prosthetic limbs for musicians, and study of the effect deep learning has on the user's perception of creative autonomy in a music generation system. I have worked as a research assistant in the online music and computer science education platform EarSketch, including the addition of a co-creative artificial intelligence agent to the site.

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Tom Berry Amazon Future Engineer

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Tom Berry is the Principal Product Manager for global learning at Amazon’s signature computer science initiative, Amazon Future Engineer. He received an M.A. in Global Affairs from Yale University and B.S. in Art, Philosophy, Literature from the United States Military Academy at West Point. He leads a global product and research portfolio investing in more equitable access for students to learn computer science during their primary and secondary education—especially students who are traditionally underrepresented in technology fields or come from underserved communities.

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Abstract

There is a strong demand for computer scientists in the United States, and particularly, a more diverse computer science workforce is needed to meet the technical and creative challenges of the 21st century. In order to build interest and excitement around computing, there is a need for free, accessible computing experiences for K-12 students so that they become familiar with computer science and understand the its broad applications and inherent creativity. As part of broader efforts to build a pipeline into computer science, scholars at ______________ teamed up with Amazon Future Engineer, a division of Amazon, Inc. focused on building a diverse pipeline into computer science, to build a coding competition centered around remixing music from popular celebrity musicians using the EarSketch platform, developed at ___________. In this paper, we describe the elements of the pilot program, which took place during the 2019-20 school year, engaging over 20,000 users in the EarSketch platform and resulting in 1200 competition submissions from all over the country. Offerings included a 3-day competition-specific curriculum, judging rubric and process, submission guidelines, celebrity promotion and participation, prizes, and evaluation of our efforts across different stakeholder groups, including students, teachers, and judges.

A formative evaluation design was utilized, including online surveys with judge, teacher, and student participants. The purpose of the evaluation was to collect formative data regarding participants’ experiences during the pilot year of the competition. These online surveys contained questions about logistical aspects of participants’ experiences, as well as items on the extent to which they enjoyed and valued various aspects of the competition, and allowed for suggestions for improvement. Participants in all three participant groups provided largely positive feedback about their experiences in and perceptions of the competition. Judges reported that the judging experience was enjoyable, clear, and not overly time consuming. Teachers felt the competition provided a variety of benefits to their students. Students valued the opportunity to create music through coding, and some expressed interest in taking additional computing courses. This paper will provide a detailed description of the program offered during the pilot year, as well as sample results from participant surveys.

Moore, R., & Newton, S. H., & Alemdar, M., & Grossman, S., & Freeman, J., & Smith, J. B., & Berry, T. (2021, July), Engaging High School Students in Computer Science Through Music Remixing: An EarSketch-based Pilot Competition and Evaluation Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference. https://strategy.asee.org/37045

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