ENGAGE

Immersive game-based learning curricular strategy for infusing computational thinking and computational fluency into middle school science. (Funding: CNS-1138497, DRL-1640141)

Introduction

Despite the growing demand for computer scientists, there is still only a small fraction of students enrolling in computer science courses in high schools and universities. The need for computer scientists is not limited to the computing field. Having computer science knowledge and skills will benefit students and graduates in many fields including biology, physics, chemistry, oceanography, and mathematics. Unfortunately, by the time students reach high school and university, they can have misconceptions about computer science, causing the courses to become undesirable to them. Therefore, it is important to demonstrate the relevance of computer science to students earlier in their education to encourage them to take computer science courses in the future. This project is led by PI James Lester, co-PI Bradford Mott, and co-PI Eric Wiebe at North Carolina State University, and by co-PI Kristy Boyer and co-PI David Blackburn at the University of Florida.

Project Description

The ENGAGE Project develops middle grade computational fluency within an immersive game-based learning environment. The project includes adapting the CS Principles high school Big Data for middle school and contextualizing it within a narrative-based learning environment. The setting of the game is an underwater research station where the main character, uses computer science and oceanography knowledge and skills to solve a mystery about problems with the fish population. ENGAGE also emphasizes teacher professional development. The setting of the game allows it to be integrated with middle school oceanography curricula and the project involves holding professional development programs to develop curricula with oceanography teachers. The curricula focuses on computational thinking in oceanography and consists of gameplay and supplementary lessons and activities to support the concepts learned in the game.

publications

2019
[11]"I Impressed Myself With How Confident I Felt": Reflections on a Computer Science Assessment for K-8 Teachers. Hannah E. Chipman, Fernando J. Rodríguez, Kristy Elizabeth Boyer. Proceedings of the 50th ACM Technical Symposium on Computer Science Education (SIGCSE '19), 2019, pp. To appear. [bib]
2018
[10]Introducing the Computer Science Concept of Variables in Middle School Science Classrooms. Philip Sheridan Buffum, Kimberly Michelle Ying, Xiaoxi Zheng, Kristy Elizabeth Boyer, Eric N. Wiebe, Bradford W. Mott, David C. Blackburn, James C. Lester. Proceedings of the 49th ACM Technical Symposium on Computer Science Education (SIGCSE), Baltimore, Maryland, 2018, pp. 906-911. [bib]
2017
[9]How Block Categories Affect Learner Satisfaction with a Block-Based Programming Interface. Fernando J. Rodríguez, Kimberly Michelle Price, Joseph Isaac Jr., Kristy Elizabeth Boyer, Christina Gardner-McCune. Proceedings of the IEEE Symposium on Visual Languages and Human-Centric Computing (VL/HCC), Raleigh, North Carolina, 2017, pp. 201-205. [bib]
2016
[8]Collaboration and Gender Equity in Game-Based Learning for Middle School Computer Science. Philip Sheridan Buffum, Megan Hardy Frankosky, Kristy Elizabeth Boyer, Eric N. Wiebe, Bradford W. Mott, James C. Lester. IEEE Computing in Science and Engineering, Special Issue - Best of Respect 2015, 2016, pp. 18—28. [bib]
[7]Empowering All Students: Closing the CS Confidence Gap with an In-School Initiative for Middle School Students. Philip Sheridan Buffum, Megan Hardy Frankosky, Kristy Elizabeth Boyer, Eric N. Wiebe, Bradford W. Mott, James C. Lester. Proceedings of the 47th ACM Technical Symposium on Computer Science Education (SIGCSE), 2016, pp. 382-387. [bib]
2015
[6]Mind the Gap: Improving Gender Equity in Game-based Learning Environments with Learning Companions. Philip Sheridan Buffum, Kristy Elizabeth Boyer, Eric N. Wiebe, Bradford W. Mott, James C. Lester. Proceedings of the International Conference on Artificial Intelligence in Education, Madrid, Spain, 2015, pp. 64-73. [bib]
[5]A Practical Guide to Developing and Validating Computer Science Knowledge Assessments with Application to Middle School. Philip Sheridan Buffum, Eleni V. Lobeni, Megan Hardy Frankosky, Kristy Elizabeth Boyer, Eric N. Wiebe, James C. Lester. Proceedings of the 46th ACM Technical Symposium on Computer Science Education (SIGCSE), Kansas City, MO, 2015, pp. 622-627. [bib]
2014
[4]CS Principles Goes to Middle School: Learning How to Teach "Big Data". Philip Sheridan Buffum, Allison G. Martínez-Arocho, Megan Hardy Frankosky, Fernando J. Rodríguez, Eric N. Wiebe, Kristy Elizabeth Boyer. Proceedings of the 45th ACM Technical Symposium on Computer Science Education (SIGCSE), Atlanta, Georgia, 2014, pp. 151-156. [bib]
[3]Developing a Game-Based Learning Curriculum for "Big Data" in Middle School. Allison G. Martínez-Arocho, Philip Sheridan Buffum, Kristy Elizabeth Boyer. Proceedings of the 45th ACM Technical Symposium on Computer Science Education (SIGCSE), Atlanta, Georgia, 2014, pp. 712-712. [bib]
2013
[2]Informing the Design of a Game-Based Learning Environment for Computer Science: A Pilot Study on Engagement and Collaborative Dialogue. Fernando J. Rodríguez, Natalie D. Kerby, Kristy Elizabeth Boyer. Proceedings of The 1st Workshop on AI-Supported Education for Computer Science (AIEDCS), Memphis, Tennessee, 2013, pp. 30-39. [bib]
[1]Repairing Disengagement in Collaborative Dialogue for Game-Based Learning. Fernando J. Rodríguez, Natalie D. Kerby, Kristy Elizabeth Boyer. Proceedings of the 16th International Conference on Artificial Intelligence in Education (AIED), Memphis, Tennessee, 2013, pp. 807-810. [bib]