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  1. Introducing computational modeling into STEM classrooms can provide opportunities for the simultaneous learning of computational thinking (CT) and STEM. This paper describes the C2STEM modeling environment for learning physics, and the processes students can apply to their learning and modeling tasks. We use an unsupervised learning method to characterize student learning behaviors and how these behaviors relate to learning gains in STEM and CT.
  2. The benefits of computational model building in STEM domains are well documented yet the synergistic learning processes that lead to the effective learning gains are not fully understood. In this paper, we analyze the discussions between students working collaboratively to build computational models to solve physics problems. From this collaborative discourse, we identify strategies that impact their model building and learning processes.
  3. The introduction of computational modeling into science curricula has been shown to benefit students’ learning, however the synergistic learning processes that contribute to these benefits are not fully understood. We study students’ synergistic learning of physics and computational thinking (CT) through their actions and collaborative discourse as they develop computational models in a visual block-structured environment. We adopt a case study approach to analyze students synergistic learning processes related to stopping conditions, initialization, and debugging episodes. Our findings show a pattern of evolving sophistication in synergistic reasoning for model-building activities.
  4. Computational modeling has been shown to benefit integrated learning of science and computational thinking (CT), however the mechanics of this synergistic learning are not well understood. In this research, we examine discourse during collaborative computational model building through the lens of a collaborative problem solving framework to gain insights into collaboration and synergistic learning of high school physics and CT. We pilot our novel approach in the context of C2STEM, a designed modeling environment, and examine collaboration and synergistic learning episodes in a video capture of a dyad modeling 2D motion with constant velocities. Our findings exhibit the promise ofmore »our approach and lay the foundation for guiding future automated approaches to detecting the synergistic learning of science and CT.« less
  5. The devastating impact of climate change on coral reefs has reinforced our need to better understand their causes, especially the ones related to humans. Simultaneously, we need to raise awareness about the significance of reefs, both as an ecological host to twenty-five percent of marine life and as a key economic resource for millions of people. Opportunities afforded through coral reef research coupled with advances in computational modeling platforms may provide a unique opportunity to introduce the study of corals into K-12 STEM curricula by combining computational thinking (CT) constructs to build computational models that allow students to explore andmore »systematically study the effects of climate change on the reefs. We outline such a computational modeling curriculum in this paper.« less
  6. 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 classroommore »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, including example computational modeling tasks, can be found at C2STEM.org.« less
  7. Synergistic learning of computational thinking (CT) and STEM has proven to effective in helping students develop better understanding of STEM topics, while simultaneously acquiring CT concepts and practices. With the ubiquity of computational devices and tools, advances in technology,and the globalization of product development, it is important for our students to not only develop multi-disciplinary skills acquired through such synergistic learning opportunities, but to also acquire key collaborative learning and problem-solving skills. In this paper, we describe the design and implementation of a collaborative learning-by-modeling environment developed for high school physics classrooms. We develop systematic rubrics and discuss the resultsmore »of key evaluation schemes to analyze collaborative synergistic learning of physics and CT concepts and practices.« less
  8. The paper introduces a visual programming language and corresponding web and cloud-based development environment called NetsBlox. NetsBlox is an extension of Snap! and builds upon its visual formalism as well as its open source code base. NetsBlox adds distributed programming capabilities by introducing two well-known abstractions to block-based programming: message passing and Remote Procedure Calls (RPC). Messages containing data can be exchanged by two or more NetsBlox programs running on different computers connected to the Internet. RPCs are called on a client program and are executed on the NetsBlox server. These two abstractions make it possible to create distributed programsmore »such as multi-player games or client-server applications. We believe that NetsBlox not only teaches basic distributed programming concepts but also provides increased motivation for high-school students to become creators and not just consumers of technology.« less
  9. There is increasing interest in broadening participation in computational thinking (CT) by integrating CT into pre-college STEM curricula and instruction. Science, in particular, is emerging as an important discipline to support integrated learning. This highlights the need for carefully designed assessments targeting the integration of science and CT to help teachers and researchers gauge students’ proficiency with integrating the disciplines. We describe a principled design process to develop assessment tasks and rubrics that integrate concepts and practices across science, CT, and computational modeling. We conducted a pilot study with 10 high school students who responded to integrative assessment tasks asmore »part of a physics-based computational modeling unit. Our findings indicate that the tasks and rubrics successfully elicit both Physics and CT constructs while distinguishing important aspects of proficiency related to the two disciplines. This work illustrates the promise of using such assessments formatively in integrated STEM and computing learning contexts.« less