Education Publications

Education is not the filling of a pail but the lighting of a fire.  ~William Yeats

Luo, F., Antonenko, P. “Pasha”, Valle, N., Sessa, E., Burleigh, G., Endara, L., McDaniel, S., Carey, S., & Davis, E. (2020). Collaborative Design Reasoning in a Large Interdisciplinary Learning Tool Design Project. International Journal of Designs for Learning, 11(1), 85-97.

Abstract: This design case discusses the complex collaborative design reasoning processes involved in developing an online interactive learning tool for learners of all ages to explore and understand the role of flagellate plants in our society. The learning tool consists of a main website (the Voyager) and an interactive, dynamic map of the evolutionary relationships between thousands of flagellate plant species (the customized OneZoom web application). The design and development of this innovative learning tool required expertise in collaborative design, design reasoning, project management, theories of learning and instructional strategies, software development, and web usability. Collaboration platforms used by the project team involved GitHub and Slack. Domain knowledge needed to complete the project included botany (flagellate plants), web programming (Python and JavaScript), and database management (MySQL). The project included a team of international experts who negotiated design strategies and solutions over the course of a year and produced and improved prototypes until converging on the final product. This article explains the challenges faced during these processes and presents solutions and lessons learned from this experience.

Luo, F., Antonenko, P., & Davis, E.C. (2020). Exploring the evolution of two girls’ conceptions and practices in computational thinking in science. Computers & Education, 146,

Abstract: As the definition of computational thinking (CT) in education continues to evolve, researchers have investigated the integration of CT in K-12 learning contexts and students’ perceptions and development of CT in these integrated learning experiences. Drawing on prior work, this study explored the evolution of two elementary school girls’ conceptions and practices of CT in science as they participated in a four-week CT-integrated science unit at a summer camp using the Dash robot and the Blockly app. Three CT concepts: loops, sequences, and conditionals, were integrated into a unit on the reproduction cycle of flowerless plants. Observations, participant drawings, and analysis of Blockly code revealed that the children improved in their CT practices. In addition, the CT-integrated science unit developed for this study successfully engaged both participants, even when one expressed a low interest in science. The study suggested that defining computing vocabulary, using checkpoint activities with immediate and corrective feedback, and scaffolding of coding concepts with unplugged activities were particularly necessary in promoting CT and the integration of CT and science education in an elementary-level informal learning context.

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