June 15, 2019
June 15, 2019
June 19, 2019
Pre-College Engineering Education
Parental Influence on Children’s Computational Thinking in an Informal Setting
Informal learning environments such as science centers and museums are instrumental in the promotion of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education. These settings provide children with the chance to engage in self-directed activities that can create a of lifelong interest and persistence in STEM. On the other hand, the presence of parents in these settings allows children the opportunity to work together and engage in conversations that can boost understanding and enhance learning of STEM topics. To date, a considerable amount of research has focused on adult-child dialogue. Findings from those studies revealed that children experience more elaborate scientific thinking when parents are present to help facilitate learning.
Given the need for engineers to have computer science skills, academic discourse has placed emphasis on studying computational thinking (CT) in children. While recent studies focus on the roles parents play on children’s engineering thinking, very limited studies have explored parents’ influence on children’s engagement in CT in informal settings. Therefore, in this study, we investigate the roles that parents play in promoting computational thinking in their young children.
In this study, families of 5-7 years old children were invited to a local science center. The families were asked to interact with an exhibit that is designed to promote engineering and computational thinking in children. To date, we have collected video and audio data from observations of 13 families' interactions with the exhibit. Drawing on previous literature from engineering education and informal science education, a coding scheme was developed with the essential roles that parents play in science centers and museums. The roles include Supervising, Co-learning, Facilitating, Encouragement and Student of the child.
We will conduct a qualitative case study to closely examine child-parent interactions during one portion of the exhibit, an interactive coding game. Additionally, we will use interview data from the observations for more clarifications on how parents facilitated the interactions. The findings of this study will advance our understanding of how parents can support computational thinking while engaging in conversations during engineering activities.
Ohland, C., & Ehsan, H., & Cardella, M. E. (2019, June), Parental Influence on Children's Computational Thinking in an Informal Setting (Fundamental Research) Paper presented at 2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Tampa, Florida. 10.18260/1-2--33157
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