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Promoting Computational Thinking in children Using Apps

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2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Columbus, Ohio

Publication Date

June 24, 2017

Start Date

June 24, 2017

End Date

June 28, 2017

Conference Session

Pre-college: Blending Computers, Computational Thinking, and Engineering Education

Tagged Division

Pre-College Engineering Education Division

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Paper Authors


Hoda Ehsan Purdue University, West Lafayette (College of Engineering) Orcid 16x16

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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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Chanel Beebe Purdue University, West Lafayette (College of Engineering)

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Chanel Beebe is an Engineering Education Researcher at Purdue University where her work focusing on broadening participation in engineering and engineering thinking. Her passion lies in empowering communities to solve their own problems using creative pedagogies and engagement strategies.

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Monica E. Cardella Purdue University, West Lafayette (College of Engineering) Orcid 16x16

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

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Increasing demand for curricula and programming that supports computational thinking in K-2 settings motivates our research team to investigate how computational thinking can be understood, observed, and supported for this age group. This study has two phases: 1) developing definitions of computational thinking competencies, 2) identifying educational apps that can potentially promote computational thinking. For the first phase, we reviewed literatures and models that identified, defined and/or described computational thinking competencies. Using the model and literature review, we then developed our set of definitions that can be used in K-2 settings. I the second phase, based on the definitions, we the developed the codebook and guiding codebook to code the educational apps. We selected the apps by searching into websites that offer customer’s ranking for the apps, and using our inclusion criteria. This search left us with 41 apps. After the process of reviewing and coding these apps, we identified only 15 apps that we believe can develop and promote computational thinking in our target age (kindergarten through second grade students). The apps and the computational thinking competencies that each promote are listed in this study. The Guiding Codebook and Computational Thinking Index that result from this process can serve as a guide for researchers, administrators, teachers and parents seeking to understand and promote computational thinking for this age group. The apps can be integrated in both formal and informal learning activities. For the next step of this study, we will observe children playing with the apps to investigate what computational thinking competencies look like in children.

Ehsan, H., & Beebe, C., & Cardella, M. E. (2017, June), Promoting Computational Thinking in children Using Apps Paper presented at 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Columbus, Ohio. 10.18260/1-2--28772

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