skip to main content


Title: Bugs as a Nexus for Emergent Peer Collaborations: Contextual and Classroom Supports for Solving Problems in Electronic Textiles.
Few studies have examined the role of failure in more open-ended situations where problems develop as a consequence of designing projects and where collaborations can emerge as an outgrowth of debugging said problems. In this paper, we explore the peer-to-peer collaborations that emerge spontaneously in the context of coding, crafting and design bugs within open-ended design activities, specifically an electronic textiles unit for secondary students taught over 10-12 weeks in introductory computer science classes. Examining observations from three introductory computer science classrooms, we address the following research questions: (1) How and what kinds of peer-to-peer collaborations emerged in unstructured ways, especially around bugs in open-ended projects? and (2) What curricular, spatial, social, and teacher supports allowed these interactions to emerge and flourish? In the discussion, we consider implications for supporting similar types of emergent collaborative learning in open-ended computational making designs.  more » « less
Award ID(s):
1742140
NSF-PAR ID:
10101538
Author(s) / Creator(s):
Date Published:
Journal Name:
A Wide Lens: Combining Embodied, Enactive, Extended, and Embedded Learning in Collaborative Settings, 13th International Conference on Computer Supported Collaborative Learning,
Page Range / eLocation ID:
472 - 479
Format(s):
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. null (Ed.)
    Open-ended programming increases students' motivation by allowing them to solve authentic problems and connect programming to their own interests. However, such open-ended projects are also challenging, as they often encourage students to explore new programming features and attempt tasks that they have not learned before. Code examples are effective learning materials for students and are well-suited to supporting open-ended programming. However, there is little work to understand how novices learn with examples during open-ended programming, and few real-world deployments of such tools. In this paper, we explore novices' learning barriers when interacting with code examples during open-ended programming. We deployed Example Helper, a tool that offers galleries of code examples to search and use, with 44 novice students in an introductory programming classroom, working on an open-ended project in Snap. We found three high-level barriers that novices encountered when using examples: decision, search, and integration barriers. We discuss how these barriers arise and design opportunities to address them. 
    more » « less
  2. Visual block-based programming environments (VBBPEs) such as Scratch and Alice are increasingly being used in introductory computer science lessons across elementary school grades. These environments, and the curricula that accompany them, are designed to be developmentally-appropriate and engaging for younger learners but may introduce challenges for future computer science educators. Using the final projects of 4th, 5th, and 6th grade students who completed an introductory curriculum using a VBBPE, this paper focuses on patterns that show success within the context of VBBPEs but could pose potential challenges for teachers of follow-up computer science instruction. This paper focuses on three specific strategies observed in learners' projects: (1) wait blocks being used to manage program execution, (2) the use of event-based programming strategies to produce parallel outcomes, and (3) the coupling of taught concepts to curricular presentation. For each of these outcomes, we present data on how the course materials supported them, what learners achieved while enacting them, and the implications the strategy poses for future educators. We then discuss possible design and pedagogical responses. The contribution of this work is that it identifies early computer science learning strategies, contextualizes them within developmentally-appropriate environments, and discusses their implications with respect to future pedagogy. This paper advances our understanding of the role of VBBPEs in introductory computing and their place within the larger K-12 computer science trajectory. 
    more » « less
  3. de Vries, E. ; Hod, Y. ; Ahn, J. (Ed.)
    Mindsets play an important role in persevering in computer science: while some learners perceive bugs as opportunities for learning, others become frustrated with failure and see it as a challenge to their abilities. Yet few studies and interventions take into account the motivational and emotional aspects of debugging and how learning environments can actively promote growth mindsets. In this paper, we discuss growth mindset practices that students exhibited in “Debugging by Design,” an intervention created to empower students in debugging—by designing e-textiles projects with bugs for their peers to solve. Drawing on observations of four student groups in a high school classroom over a period of eight hours, we examine the practices students exhibited that demonstrate the development of growth mindset, and the contexts where these practices emerged. We discuss how our design-focused, practice-first approach may be particularly well suited for promoting growth mindset in domains such as computer science. 
    more » « less
  4. null (Ed.)
    Given the importance of broadening participation in the field of computing, goals of supporting personal expression and developing a sense of belonging must live alongside the goals of conceptual knowledge and developing disciplinary expertise. Integrating opportunities for students to be creative in how they enact computing ideas plays an important role when designing curricula. We examine how student creativity, as expressed through theme and the use of costumes, backdrops, and narrative in Scratch projects, is affected by using a themed starter project. Starter projects are Scratch projects that include a set of sprites and backdrops aligned to a theme (e.g. baseball), but no code. Using within-group and between- group comparisons, we establish a baseline of what students do when they are given a starter project and explore how their projects differ in the absence of a starter project. This work contributes to our understanding of the impacts of structured elements within open-ended learning tasks and how we can design computer science learning experiences for students that promote opportunities for self-expression while engaging them in computing. 
    more » « less
  5. As computer science instruction gets offered to more young learn- ers, transitioning from elective to requirement, it is important to explore the relationship between pedagogical approach and student behavior. While different pedagogical approaches have particular motivations and intended goals, little is known about to what degree they satisfy those goals. In this paper, we present analysis of 536 students’ (age 9-14, grades 4-8) work within a Scratch-based, Use-Modify-Create (UMC) curriculum, Scratch Encore. We investigate to what degree the UMC progression encourages students to engage with the content of the lesson while providing the flexibility for creativity and exploration. Our findings show that this approach does balance structure with flexibility and creativity, allowing teachers wide variation in the degree to which they adhere to the structured tasks. Many students utilized recently-learned blocks in open-ended activities, yet they also explored blocks not formally taught. In addition, they took advantage of open-ended projects to change sprites, backgrounds, and integrate narratives into their projects. 
    more » « less