All Roads Lead to Computing: Making, Participatory Simulations, and Social Computing as Pathways to Computer Science

Corey Brady, Kai Orton, David Weintrop, Gabriella Anton, Sebastian Rodriguez, Uri Wilensky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations

Abstract

Computer science (CS) is becoming an increasingly diverse domain. This paper reports on an initiative designed to introduce underrepresented populations to computing using an eclectic, multifaceted approach. As part of a yearlong computing course, students engage in Maker activities, participatory simulations, and computing projects that foreground the social and collaborative aspects of CS. Collectively, these activities are designed to introduce learners to the growing diversity of what CS looks like in the 21st century. This paper lays out the practical and theoretical motivations for the Computational Thinking for Girls (CT4G) project, specifically highlighting the use of Making through physical and social computing as ways to engage students in CS. A snapshot of one activity from the program is provided - Wearing the Web - in which students use open-hardware programmable badges to explore the underlying structure and technology that enables the Internet. Data from the first year of the CT4G program are presented to show the positive effects that this diverse introduction to CS is having on the students with respect to their attitudes toward CS.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number7765145
Pages (from-to)59-66
Number of pages8
JournalIEEE Transactions on Education
Volume60
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 2017

Keywords

  • Collaborative learning
  • computer science (CS)
  • gender diversity
  • high school
  • making
  • participatory simulations
  • underrepresented students
  • wearable technology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering

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