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Work in Progress: Teaching Coding to Elementary Students – the Use of Collective Argumentation

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2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Tampa, Florida

Publication Date

June 15, 2019

Start Date

June 15, 2019

End Date

June 19, 2019

Conference Session

Technical Session 6: Modulus Topics Part 2

Tagged Division

Computers in Education

Tagged Topic


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Paper Authors


Tim Foutz P.E. University of Georgia

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Dr. Foutz is a Josiah Meigs Distinguished Teaching Professor of Engineering at the University of Georgia. He was the inaugural director of the First-Year Odyssey program, classes designed to introduce freshmen to the academic life of the University. Dr. Foutz has received federal funding to integrate humanities and social science topics into his course materials. For over 28 years, he has taught fundamental engineering courses as well as advanced design courses.

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ChanMin Kim Penn State University

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ChanMin Kim, Ph.D. is Associate Professor of Education (Learning, Design, and Technology and Educational Psychology) at Penn State University. Dr. Kim studies methods to help early childhood and elementary teachers learn to integrate robotics and computer science into classrooms. Her current work includes research on methods to help preservice, early childhood education teachers learn to use block-based programming within culturally responsive teaching using robots.

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Tugba Boz University of Georgia

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Tugba Boz is a Ph.D. Student in the Department of Educational Theory and Practice at the University of Georgia.

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Cory Gleasman University of Georgia

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This project, titled Collective Argumentation Learning and Coding (CALC), aims to use the principles of collective argumentation to teach coding through appropriate reasoning. Creating and critiquing arguments as part of a coding activity promotes a more structured approach rather than the trial-and-error coding activity commonly used by novice programmers. Teaching coding via collective argumentation allows teachers to use methods that are already in use in mathematics and science instruction to teach coding, thus increasing the probability that it will be taught in conjunction with mathematics and science as regular parts of classroom instruction rather than relegated to an after-school or enrichment activity for only some students.

Specific objectives of the CALC project are to - increase the attention that coding is given in the elementary classrooms taught by our participating teachers, and -direct students away from informal approaches (e.g.trial-and-error) to develop code to the more formal, structured approach recommended for novice programmers.

Our research activities investigate teachers’ understanding of argumentation using the CALC concept and how the implementation of the CALC concept helps students (grades 3-5) learn how to code. The CALC approach supports the learning of coding by providing teachers with a formal, structured means to a) trace the growth of students’ understanding, and misunderstanding, of ideas (i.e., coding) as they form, b) facilitate students’ use of evidence, not opinion, to select a solution among multiple solutions (i.e., different sequencing of the code), and c) help each student realize she/he, as well as others, is a legitimate participant (i.e., a programmer) in the activity of developing, assessing and implementing an idea (e.g., coding of a robot).

This paper/presentation discussed the first phase of an on-going investigation and focuses on a prototype graduate-level course designed for and taught to practicing elementary school teachers. The discussion outlines how the course impacted the participating teachers content knowledge of coding and their belief that coding can be made an integral part of everyday lessons, not as an add-on activity.

Foutz, T., & Kim, C., & Boz, T., & Gleasman, C. (2019, June), Work in Progress: Teaching Coding to Elementary Students – the Use of Collective Argumentation Paper presented at 2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Tampa, Florida. 10.18260/1-2--33653

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