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  1. Strategies are an important component of self-regulated learning frameworks. However, the characterization of strategies in these frameworks is often incomplete: (1) they lack an operational definition of strategies; (2) there is limited understanding of how students develop and apply strategies; and (3) there is a dearth of systematic and generalizable approaches to measure and evaluate strategies when students’ work in open-ended learning environments (OELEs). This paper develops systematic methods for detecting, interpreting, and analyzing students’ use of strategies in OELEs, and demonstrates how students’ strategies evolve across tasks. We apply this framework in the context of tasks that students perform as they learn science topics by building conceptual and computational models in an OELE. Data from a classroom study, where sixth-grade students (N = 52) worked on science model-building activities in our Computational Thinking using Simulation and Modeling (CTSiM) environment demonstrates how we interpret students’ strategy use, and how strategy use relates to their learning performance. We also demonstrate how students’ strategies evolve as they work on multiple model-building tasks. The results demonstrate the effectiveness of our strategy framework in analyzing students’ behaviors and performance in CTSiM.
  2. C2STEM is a web-based learning environment founded on a novel paradigm that combines block-structured, visual programming with the concept of domain specific modeling languages (DSMLs) to promote the synergistic learning of discipline-specific and computational thinking (CT) concepts and practices. Our design-based, collaborative learning environment aims to provide students in K-12 classrooms with immersive experiences in CT through computational modeling in realistic scenarios (e.g., building models of scientific phenomena). The goal is to increase student engagement and include inclusive opportunities for developing key computational skills needed for the 21st century workforce. Research implementations that include a semester-long high school physics classroom study have demonstrated the effectiveness of our approach in supporting synergistic learning of STEM and CS/CT concepts and practices, especially when compared to a traditional classroom approach. This technology demonstration will showcase our CS+X (X = physics, marine biology, or earth science) learning environment and associated curricula. Participants can engage in our design process and learn how to develop curricular modules that cover STEM and CS/CT concepts and practices. Our work is supported by an NSF STEM+C grant and involves a multi-institutional team comprising Vanderbilt University, SRI International, Looking Glass Ventures, Stanford University, Salem State University, and ETR. More information,more »including example computational modeling tasks, can be found at« less