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  1. A literature review revealed that students learning computational thinking via Scratch often require substantial teacher support. We surveyed grade 6-9 teachers to learn their perceptions of student engagement with computational thinking (CT) and how well their needs are met by existing CT learning systems. The results led us to extend the trend of balancing Scratch’s agency with structure to better serve learners and reduce burden on teachers aiming to learn and teach CT. In this paper, we review architecture and implementation strategies developed to integrate Parsons Programming Puzzles (PPPs) with Scratch, and then analyze their effects on adults, who crucially influence the education of their children. The results from our pilot study suggest PPPs catalyze CT motivation, reduce extraneous cognitive load, and increase learning efficiency without jeopardizing performance on transfer tasks. 
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  2. To investigate learning system elements and progressions that affect computational thinking (CT) learning in block-based environments, we developed a Parsons Programming Puzzle (PPP) module within Scratch with scaffolding customized via a novel Blockly grammar. By varying the presentation and types of feedback encountered between- and within-subjects in a study of 579 adults, we identified features and scaffolding strategies that yield manageable cognitive load (CL), improved CT learning efficiency, and increased motivation, for a general populace. Findings indicate: 1) PPPs with feedback induce lowest CL; 2) an isolated palette, correctness feedback, and fading correctness feedback increase learning efficiency; 3) fading scaffolding can increase CT motivation. We analyze 12 conditions to provide insight to those developing block-based PPP systems with the aim to advance equitable CT education for all. 
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  3. Using a design thinking approach, we surveyed and interviewed grade 6-9 teachers on their experience with Scratch and Parsons Programming Puzzles (PPP). The results lead us to extend Scratch with gameful PPP functionality focused on individual computational thinking (CT) concepts. In this paper, we vary elements of PPPs presented to 624 adult learners to identify those yielding manageable cognitive load (CL), and maximum CT motivation and learning efficiency, for a general populace. Findings indicate PPPs with feedback and without distractors limit CL, those with feedback produce highest CT motivation, and those with an isolated block palette and without distractors produce highest CT learning efficiency. We analyze study data across nine conditions to offer insight to those developing PPP systems with the aim to advance equitable CT education for all. 
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  4. null (Ed.)
    We surveyed grade 6-9 teachers to learn teacher perceptions of student engagement with computational thinking (CT) and how well their needs are met by existing CT learning systems. The results and a literature review lead us to extend the trend of balancing Scratch’s agency with structure to better serve learners and reduce burden on teachers aiming to learn and teach CT. In this paper, we integrate Parsons Programming Puzzles (PPPs) with Scratch and analyze the effects on adults, who crucially influence the education of their children. The results from our small pilot study suggest PPPs catalyze CT motivation, reduce extraneous cognitive load, and increase learning efficiency without jeopardizing performance on transfer tasks. 
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  5. Rapid technological advances and the increasing number of students in Southeast Asian nations present a difficult challenge: how should schools adequately equip teachers with the right tools to effectively teach Computational Thinking, when the demand for such teachers outstrips their readiness and availability? To address this challenge, we present the SAGE reference architecture: an architecture for a learning environment for elementary, middle-school and high-school students based on the Scratch programming language. We synthesize research in the domains of game-based learning, implicit assessments, intelligent tutoring systems, and learning conditions, and suggest a teacher-assisting instructional platform that provides automated and personalized machine learning recommendations to students as they learn Computational Thinking. We discuss the uses and components of this system that collects, categorizes, structures, and refines data generated from students’ and teachers’ interactions, and also facilitates personalized student learning through: 1) predictions of students’ distinct programming behaviors via employment of clustering and classification models, 2) automation of aspects of formative assessment formulations and just-in- time feedback delivery, and 3) utilization of item-based and user-based collaborative filtering to suggest customized learning paths. The proposed reference architecture consists of several architectural components, with explanations on their necessity and interactions to foster future replications or adaptations in similar educational contexts. 
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