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K-2 Students’ Computational Thinking Engagement in Formal and Informal Learning Settings: A Case Study (Fundamental)

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Conference

2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 23, 2018

Start Date

June 23, 2018

End Date

July 27, 2018

Conference Session

Makerspaces

Tagged Division

Pre-College Engineering Education

Page Count

24

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/30743

Download Count

192

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Paper Authors

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Hoda Ehsan Purdue University, West Lafayette Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0003-3681-317X

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Hoda is a Ph.D. student in the School of Engineering Education, Purdue. She received her B.S. in mechanical engineering in Iran, and obtained her M.S. in Childhood Education and New York teaching certification from City College of New York (CUNY-CCNY). She is now a graduate research assistant on STEM+C project. Her research interests include designing informal setting for engineering learning, and promoting engineering thinking in differently abled students in informal and formal settings.

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Tikyna Dandridge Purdue University, West Lafayette

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Tikyna is a Ph.D. student in the School of Engineering Education at Purdue University. She obtained her B.S. from Alabama A&M University and M.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Purdue University.

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Ibrahim H. Yeter Purdue University, West Lafayette

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Ibrahim H. Yeter is currently a Postdoctoral Researcher in the INSPIRE Research Center in the School of Engineering Education at Purdue University. He obtained his PhD in Curriculum and Instruction emphasizing in Engineering Education and Master's degree in Petroleum Engineering at Texas Tech University. He is highly interested in conducting research within the Engineering Education framework.

Recently, he received the Early Career Researcher Award from European Science Education Research Association (ESERA) in 2017. In addition, he is one of two scholarship recipients awarded by National Association for Research in Science Teaching (NARST) to attend the ESERA summer research conference in České Budějovice, Czech Republic in August 2016. He has also been named as Jhumki Basu Scholar by the NARST in 2014.

Additional projects involvement include: PictureSTEM, STEM+C, Engineering is Elementary (EiE); Rocket Project; World MOON Project; and Robotics. He can be reached at iyeter@purdue.edu.

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Monica E. Cardella Purdue University, West Lafayette Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/https://0000-0002-4229-6183

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Monica E. Cardella is the Director of the INSPIRE Research Institute for Pre-College Engineering and is an Associate Professor of Engineering Education at Purdue University.

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Abstract

Given the growth of technology in the 21st century and the growing demands for computer science skills, computational thinking has been increasingly included in K-12 STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) education. Computational thinking (CT) is relevant to integrated STEM and has many common practices with other STEM disciplines. Previous studies have shown synergies between CT and engineering learning. In addition, many researchers believe that the more children are exposed to CT learning experiences, the stronger their programming abilities will be. As programming is a common aspect of undergraduate engineering coursework, preparing children for programming learning should be considered in pre-college engineering education. However, in order to incorporate CT in pre-college education, it is important to know what CT learning looks like for children in different formal and informal settings and the ways children can make connections across these settings. Previous studies have demonstrated that children as young as kindergarten are able to engage in computational thinking competencies. Building on this previous research, in this study, we look for the ways K-2 children engage in CT in school and out-of-school settings. Conducting case study research, we followed two first grade children across two learning settings and studied their enactments of CT. We first examined evidence of CT engagement of these children in a school setting where they engaged in a STEM+C curriculum and then captured their CT engagement during an engineering design task in a science center. The findings suggest that children are able to engage in several CT competencies and different levels of them. We have seen similarities in CT engagement in both settings. The competencies that we observed happening in both settings included Abstraction, Algorithm and Procedure, Debugging/Troubleshooting, Pattern Recognition, and Simulation. We also noticed that given the tasks that children were given, the level of CT competencies they engaged in was different.

Ehsan, H., & Dandridge, T., & Yeter, I. H., & Cardella, M. E. (2018, June), K-2 Students’ Computational Thinking Engagement in Formal and Informal Learning Settings: A Case Study (Fundamental) Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. https://peer.asee.org/30743

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