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  4. Background and Context: Students’ self-efficacy toward computing affect their participation in related tasks and courses. Self- efficacy is likely influenced by students’ initial experiences and exposure to computer science (CS) activities. Moreover, student interest in a subject likely informs their ability to effectively regulate their learning in that domain. One way to enhance interest in CS is through using collaborative pair programming. Objective: We wanted to explore upper elementary students’ self- efficacy for and conceptual understanding of CS as manifest in collaborative and regulated discourse during pair programming. Method: We implemented a five-week CS intervention with 4th and 5th grade students and collected self-report data on students’ CS attitudes and conceptual understanding, as well as transcripts of dyads talking while problem solving on a pair programming task. Findings: The students’ self-report data, organized by dyad, fell into three categories based on the dyad’s CS self-efficacy and conceptual understanding scores. Findings from within- and cross-case analyses revealed a range of ways the dyads’ self-efficacy and CS conceptual understanding affected their collaborative and regulated discourse. Implications: Recommendations for practitioners and researchers are provided. We suggest that upper elementary students learn about productive disagreement and how to peer model. Additionally, our findings maymore »help practitioners with varied ways to group their students.« less
  5. The demand is growing for a populace that is AI literate; such literacy centers on enabling individuals to evaluate, collaborate with, and effectively use AI. Because the middle school years are a critical time for developing youths’ perceptions and dispositions toward STEM, creating engaging AI learning experiences for middle grades students (ages 11 to 14) is paramount. The need for providing enhanced access to AI learning opportunities is especially pronounced in rural areas, which are typically underserved and underresourced. Inspired by prior research that game design holds significant potential for cultivating student interest and knowledge in computer science, we are designing, developing, and iteratively refining an AI-centered game development environment that infuses AI learning into game design activities. In this work, we review design principles for game design interventions focused on middle grades computer science education and explore how to introduce AI learning experiences into interactive game-design activities. We also discuss results from our initial co-design sessions with middle grades students and teachers in rural communities.
  6. Digital storytelling, which combines traditional storytelling with digital tools, has seen growing popularity as a means of creating motivating problem-solving activities in K-12 education. Though an attractive potential solution to integrating language arts skills across topic areas such as computational thinking and science, better understanding of how to structure and support these activities is needed to increase adoption by teachers. Building on prior research on block-based programming for interactive storytelling, we present initial results from a study of 28 narrative programs created by upper elementary students that were collected in both classroom and extracurricular contexts. The narrative programs are evaluated across multiple dimensions to better understand the types of narrative programs being created by the students, characteristics of the students who created the narratives, and what types of support could most benefit the students in their narrative program construction. In addition to analyzing the student-created narrative programs, we also provide recommendations for promising system-generated and instructor-led supports.
  7. Pair programming is a popular strategy in computer science education to teach programming to novices. In this study, we examined the effect of three different pair programming conditions on up- per elementary school students’ CS conceptual understanding. The three conditions were one-computer with roles (1C with roles), two computers without roles (2C no roles), and two computers with roles (2C with roles). These students were engaged in four days of computer programming activities and took the CS concept assessment, CS attitudes, and collaboration perceptions before and after the activities. We used the validated E-CSCA (Elementary Computer Science Concepts Assessment) to measure elementary students’ understanding of CS concepts. We tested the relation- ship of different pair programming conditions on the students’ CS conceptual understanding and found that different conditions impacted students’ CS conceptual understanding, wherein students in 2C roles demonstrated better CS learning than the other two conditions. The results also showed no changes in students’ CS attitudes and perceptions of collaboration before and after the activities. Furthermore, the results indicated no significant impact of these attitudinal factors on students’ learning CS concepts in pair programming settings. Our study highlights the importance of the roles and number of computers in pairmore »programming settings, especially for elementary students.« less
  8. In successful collaborative paradigms such as pair programming, students engage in productive dialogue and work to resolve con- flicts as they arise. However, little is known about how elementary students engage in collaborative dialogue for computer science learning. Early findings indicate that these younger students may struggle to manage conflicts that arise during pair programming. To investigate collaborative dialogue that elementary learners use and the conflicts that they encounter, we analyzed videos of twelve pairs of fifth grade students completing pair programming activities. We developed a novel annotation scheme with a focus on collab- orative dialogue and conflicts. We found that student pairs used best-practice dialogue moves such as self-explanation, question generation, uptake, and praise in less than 23% of their dialogue. High-conflict pairs antagonized their partner, whereas this behav- ior was not observed with low-conflict pairs. We also observed more praise (e.g., “We did it!”) and uptake (e.g., “Yeah and. . . ”) in low-conflict pairs than high-conflict pairs. All pairs exhibited some conflicts about the task, but high-conflict pairs also engaged in conflicts about control of the computer and their partner’s con- tributions. The results presented here provide insights into the collaborative process of young learners in CSmore »problem solving, and also hold implications for educators as we move toward building learning environments that support students in this context.« less