skip to main content

Title: Design with Code Club: An attempt to get kids learning to code while designing solutions to everyday problems (Work in Progress)
Early in the pandemic we gathered a group of educators to create and share at-home educational opportunities for families to design and make STEAM projects while at home. As this effort, CoBuild19, continued, we decided to extend our offerings to include basic computer programming. To accomplish this, we created an offering called the Design with Code Club (DwCC). We structured DwCC to be different from other common coding offerings in that we wanted the main focus to be on kids designing solutions to problems that might include the use of technology and coding. We were purposeful in this decision for two main reasons. First, we wanted to make our coding club more interesting to girls, where previous research demonstrates their interest in designing solutions. Second, we wanted this effort to be different from most programming instruction, where coding activities use programming as the core of instruction and application in authentic and student-selected contexts plays a secondary role. DwCC was set up so that each of the first four weeks had a different larger challenge that was COVID-19 related and sessions unfolded with alternating smaller challenges, discussion around design and coding instruction that would develop their skills and knowledge of micro:bit capabilities. We culminated DwCC with an open-ended project where the kids were given the challenge of coming up with their own problem for which they might incorporate micro:bit as part of the solution. Because we were doing all of this online, we used the micro:bit interface through Microsoft MakeCode, which includes a functional simulator. From our experiences we realized that simulations are not as enticing as physical computing with a tangible device, so we set up an incentive where youth who participated in at least three sessions of the club would receive a physical micro:bit. We advertised DwCC through Facebook and twitter and had nearly 200 families register their kids to participate. In the end, a total of 52 micro:bits were sent to youth participants. Based on this success, we sought to expand the effort and increase accessibility for groups that are traditionally underrepresented in STEM. In spring 2021, we offered a Girls DwCC. This was a redesigned version of the club where the focus was even more on problem-solving through design. The club was run by all women, including one from the US, an Industrial Engineer from Mexico and a computer programmer from Albania. More than 50 girls from 17 countries participated in the club! We are working on another version of GDwCC that will be offered in Spanish and focus on Latina girls in the US and Mexico. In the most recent iteration of DwCC we are working with an educator at a school for deaf students to create a version of the club that works for their students. We are doing some modification of activities and recreating videos that involve sign language interpretation. In this presentation we will report on the variants of DwCC, results from participant feedback surveys and plans for future versions.  more » « less
Award ID(s):
Author(s) / Creator(s):
; ; ;
Date Published:
Journal Name:
Zone 1 Conference of the American Society for Engineering Education
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. In this manuscript, we describe a coding club we created and implemented during the COVID-19 pandemic. We were purposeful in creating the club to: (a) focus on design and problem solving as the basis for learning computer coding and (b) include elements to improve the engagement of girls. We ran multiple iterations of a Girls Design with Code Club that involved over 100 girls from 22 countries. We reviewed various sources of data to evaluate how our design and implementation of the coding clubs impacted the girls who participated. In an effort to share our learnings with other researchers and program providers, we share evidence of choices that we believe had positive impacts and others that we can improve in future iterations. 
    more » « less
  2. Despite recent efforts to increase diversity, female and racially minoritized youth 1 continue to be underrepresented in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). Our pilot study utilizes culturally responsive frameworks to address the underrepresentation of minoritized youth in computer science (CS) by supporting youth at a local Boys & Girls Club as they develop a sense of competence and belonging in the CS field. Culturally responsive frameworks shape our work with students and inform our research process. This paper examines the context of our pilot study and the positionality of our research team, which includes university researchers and community partners. It also provides a reflexive analysis of our community inquiry process and how it has influenced the development and adaptation of our CS programming. 
    more » « less
  3. This is part of a larger effort bringing together a diverse design team, to create curriculum integrating computer coding and middle-school general-mathematics. The goal was to enhance the instruction of students that have been traditionally underserved in mathematics by using computer science ideas found in coding to complement, reinforce, and build on mathematics ideas in a meaningful way. The development of modules was guided by the principles of Design-Based Research and Realistic Mathematics Education instructional design heuristics, in particular by drawing on the notion of guided reinvention through emergent models. Here we present the design principles that emerged from the first half of the effort with the hopes of informing other projects that integrate coding and mathematics learning. 
    more » « less
  4. Taking part in creating location-based augmented reality (LBAR) experiences that focus on communication, art and design could serve as an entry point for art-oriented girls and young women towards career pathways in computer science and information communication technology. This conceptual paper presents our theory-based approach and subsequent application, as well as lessons learned informed by team discussions and reflections. We built an LBAR program entitled AR Girls on four foundational principles: stealth science (embedding science in familiar appealing experiences), place-based education (situating learning in one’s own community), non-hierarchical design (collaborations where both adults and youth generate content), and learning through design (engaging in design, not just play). To translate these principles into practice, we centered the program around the theme of art by forming partnerships with small community art organizations and positioning LBAR as an art-based communication medium. We found that LBAR lends itself to an interdisciplinary approach that blends technology, art, science and communication. We believe our approach helped girls make connections to their existing interests and build soft skills such as leadership and interpersonal communication as they designed local environmentally-focused LBAR walking tours. Our “use-modify-create” approach provided first-hand experiences with the AR software early on, and thus supported the girls and their art educators in designing and showcasing their walking tours. Unfortunately, the four foundational principles introduced considerable complexity to AR Girls, which impacted recruitment and retention, and at times overwhelmed the art educators who co-led the program. To position AR Girls for long-term success, we simplified the program approach and implementation, including switching to a more user-friendly AR software; reducing logistical challenges of location-based design and play; narrowing the topic addressed by the girls design; and making the involvement of community partners optional. Overall, our initial work was instrumental in understanding how to translate theoretical considerations for learning in out-of-school settings into an LBAR program aimed at achieving multiple complementary outcomes for participating girls. Ultimately, we achieved better scalability by simplifying AR Girls both conceptually and practically. The lessons learned from AR Girls can inform others using LBAR for education and youth development programming. 
    more » « less
  5. This paper focuses on the professional development component of the CISTEME365 initiative, which supports the creation of affective and knowledge spaces among guidance counselors and teachers as advocates for social justice and equity in STEM education. Using a qualitative case study approach [3], we examine what happens when a pair of middle school educators (science teacher and dual language science teacher) develop an after-school STEM club with a specific goal of creating an equitable and inclusive environment for girls and students from racially minoritized backgrounds. Further, we use inductive thematic analysis methodology [4] to identify propositions on professional development aspects of CISTEME365 programming and its influence on STEM Club design and student experiences. 
    more » « less