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Creators/Authors contains: "Zhang, Anna Y."

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  1. Analogical reasoning is considered to be a critical cognitive skill in programming. However, it has been rarely studied in a block-based programming context, especially involving both virtual and physical objects. In this multi-case study, we examined how novice programming learners majoring in early childhood education used analogical reasoning while debugging block code to make a robot perform properly. Screen recordings, scaffolding entries, reflections, and block code were analyzed. The cross-case analysis suggested multimodal objects enabled the novice programming learners to identify and use structural relations. The use of a robot eased the verification process by enabling them to test their analogies immediately after the analogy application. Noticing similar functional analogies led to noticing similarities in the relation between block code as well as between block code and the robot, guiding to locate bugs. Implications and directions for future educational computing research are discussed.

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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available September 1, 2024
  2. This article reports the analysis of data from five different studies to identify predictors of preservice, early childhood teachers’ views of (a) the nature of coding, (b) integration of coding into preschool classrooms, and (c) relation of coding to fields other than computer science (CS). Significant changes in views of coding were predicted by time, prior robot programming experience, and perceptions of the value of coding. Notably, prior programming knowledge and positive perceptions of mathematics predicted decreases in views of coding from pre- to post-survey.

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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available June 13, 2024
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    Tinkering is often viewed as arbitrary practice that should be avoided. However, tinkering can be performed as part of a sound reasoning process. In this ethnomethodological study, we investigated tinkering as a reasoning process that construes logical inferences. This is a new asset-based approach that can be applied in computer science education. We analyzed artifact-based interviews, video observations, reflections, and scaffolding entries from three pairs of early childhood teacher candidates to document how they engaged in reasoning while tinkering. Abductive reasoning observed during tinkering is discussed in detail. 
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  5. Model‐based clustering of time‐evolving networks has emerged as one of the important research topics in statistical network analysis. It is a fundamental research question to model time‐varying network parameters. However, due to difficulties in modelling functional network parameters, there is little progress in the current literature to model time‐varying network parameters effectively. In this work, we model network parameters as univariate nonparametric functions instead of constants. We effectively estimate those functional network parameters in temporal exponential‐family random graph models using a kernel regression technique and a local likelihood approach. Furthermore, we propose a semiparametric finite mixture of temporal exponential‐family random graph models by adopting finite mixture models, which simultaneously allows both modelling and detecting groups in time‐evolving networks. Also, we use a conditional likelihood to construct an effective model selection criterion and network cross‐validation to choose an optimal bandwidth. The power of our method is demonstrated in simulation studies and real‐world applications to dynamic international trade networks and dynamic arm trade networks.

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  6. Abstract

    This study indicates the most effective combinations of scaffolding features within computer science and technology education settings. It addresses the research question, “What combinations of scaffolding characteristics, contexts of use, and assessment levels lead to medium and large effect sizes among college‐ and graduate‐level engineering and technology learners?” To do so, studies in which scaffolding led to a medium or large effect size within the context of technology and engineering education were identified within a scaffolding meta‐analysis data set. Next, two‐step cluster analysis in SPSS 24 was used to identify distinct groups of scaffolding attributes tailored to learning computer science at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Input variables included different scaffolding characteristics, the context of use, education level, and effect size. There was an eight‐cluster solution: five clusters were associated with large effect size, two with medium effect size, and one with both medium and large effect size. The three most important predictors were the context in which scaffolding was used, if and how scaffolding is customized over time and the decision rules that govern scaffolding change. Notably, highly effective scaffolding clusters are associated with most levels of each predictor.

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