This project involves an intervention in two 8th grade classrooms using MIT App Inventor to create apps as a mechanism for problem solving. The research investigates student perception and evidence of computational thinking practices. The unit is designed to meet current math standards while teaching students app development. Students plan, design, playtest and revise apps using a Build-Test-TroubleShoot-TryAgain formula to problem solve. Teachers and students learn MIT App Inventor side-by-side and follow-up teacher and student-led workshops are planned in the DML labs.
This project investigates the development of a game and app design curriculum being implemented in public high school during 2013-2014. Following a successful introductory course in which 171 students explored the elements of game design, the second offering focuses on attracting students to consider skills and careers in computer science. Portal 2, MIT App Inventor, and Unity are key components of the novel 9-week curriculum stressing Computer Science Principles: Computational Thinking Practices (The College Board, 2012), and Computer Science Teachers Association (CSTA) K-12 Computer Science Standards (2011). The first year of the project will explore the role and perceptions of district administrators and teachers when writing and implementing a game and app-design curriculum -including conditions necessary to sustain the curriculum implementation in formal schooling. The DML labs will host Google Hangouts inviting others to explore this project in a “working example” format in fall, 2013.
Partnering with researchers in Human Centered Computing, this project will scale previous work linking coding games and apps to measuring student achievement in math. Beginning next fall, four classrooms will participate in our research as we explore ways to enhance current STEM standards and mathematics curricular objectives with game and app design.
The project’s goal is to determine if coding offers an avenue to effectively engage and teach math and computer science principles, encourages students to consider future courses or careers involving these skills, meets required standards, and is scalable to other populations.