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  1. 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 grademore »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 may help practitioners with varied ways to group their students.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available March 9, 2023
  2. 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) tomore »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 pair programming settings, especially for elementary students.« less
  3. 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 foundmore »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 CS problem solving, and also hold implications for educators as we move toward building learning environments that support students in this context.« less
  4. Background and Context: Researchers and practitioners have begun to incorporate collaboration in programming because of its reported instructional and professional benefits. However, younger students need guidance on how to collaborate in environments that require substantial interpersonal interaction and negotiation. Previous research indicates that feedback fosters students’ productive collaboration. Objective: This study employs an intervention to explore the role instructor-directed feedback plays on elementary students’ dyadic collaboration during 2-computer pair programming. Method: We used a multi-study design, collecting video data on students’ dyadic collaboration. Study 1 qualitatively explored dyadic collaboration by coding video transcripts of four dyads which guided the designmore »of Study 2 that examined conversation of six dyads using MANOVA and non-parametric tests. Findings: Result from Study 2 showed that students receiving feed- back used productive conversation categories significantly higher than the control condition in the sample group considered. Results are discussed in terms of group differences in specific conversation categories. Implications: Our study highlights ways to support students in pair programming contexts so that they can maximize the benefits afforded through these experiences.« less
  5. There is a currently a shortage of computer science professionals and this shortage is projected to continue into the foreseeable future as not enough students are selecting computer science majors. Researchers and policy-makers agree that development of this career pipeline starts in elementary school. Our study examined which collaborative programming setup, pair programming (two students collaborate on one computer) or side-by-side programming (two students collaborate on the same program from two computers), fifth-grade students preferred. We also sought to understand why students preferred one method over the other and explored ideas on how to effectively design a collaborative programming environmentmore »for this age group. Our study had participants first engage in five instructional days, alternating between pair and side-by-side programming, and then conducted focus groups. We found that students overwhelmingly preferred side-by-side programming. We explain this using self-determination theory which states that behavior is motivated by three psychological needs: autonomy, competence, and psychological relatedness which side-by-side programming was better able to meet.« less