1. Ivon Arroyo
  2. https://www.wpi.edu/people/faculty/iarroyo
  3. Assistant Professor
  4. Teaching Computational Thinking through Programming Wearable Devices as Finite State Machines
  5. https://www.wpi.edu/news/math-motion
  6. Worcester Polytechnic Institute, National Science Foundation
  1. Erin Ottmar
  2. https://sites.google.com/site/erinottmar/
  3. Assistant Professor of Learning Sciences and Technology
  4. Teaching Computational Thinking through Programming Wearable Devices as Finite State Machines
  5. https://www.wpi.edu/news/math-motion
  6. Worcester Polytechnic Institute
Public Discussion
  • May 15, 2017 | 09:28 a.m.

    hi - thanks for the interesting video and project. I am wondering about the facets of CT that you present to the teachers and students? How do you link their game design to CT facets (e.g. problem decomposition or abstraction)?  thanks! 

  • Icon for: Vivian Guilfoy

    Vivian Guilfoy

    Senior Advisor
    May 15, 2017 | 10:54 a.m.

    Very interesting project, especially combining  physical environment, movement,  and devices.  The notion of having high school students create games for middle school students....and eventually middle school students creating games for elementary students is a great feature of your efforts.  Have you done any research to discover particular aspects of CT that are particularly enhanced by your efforts?  What are they?    

  • Icon for: Ivon Arroyo

    Ivon Arroyo

    Presenter
    May 17, 2017 | 04:30 p.m.

    Dear Vivian, thanks for your comment!

    Something that we know so far, given our last study, is that high school students learn about state-machines and how to plan and specify  the behavior of the mobile devices as finite state machines, something they did not know at all before starting.

  • Icon for: Erin Ottmar

    Erin Ottmar

    Co-Presenter
    May 15, 2017 | 01:33 p.m.

    Hi Jodi and Vivian! Thanks for your comments. Your questions are exactly the direction that this project is headed. We are in the early stages of this project and have found that high school students are able to successfully conceptualize and create games and begin to develop an understanding of both the front end and back end of what is required to create games with technology. As a part of this project, we had students create visual representations of these games, and then had them adapt those representations after learning about state-based diagrams. We are currently developing a coding system and measures to better understand which parts of game design and CT were enhanced and where gaps still remain. We hope that the coding and analysis work that we do this summer will point us in the right direction to understanding your questions more specifically. 

  • Icon for: Natalya St. Clair

    Natalya St. Clair

    Researcher
    May 15, 2017 | 03:25 p.m.

    Erin, thanks for this video and project! I was wondering if you plan to look at how students learn with data and working with CSV/data exports from student games, too.

  • Icon for: Erin Ottmar

    Erin Ottmar

    Co-Presenter
    May 16, 2017 | 03:32 p.m.

    Hi Natalya- Our goal is to understand how developing and playing games alters students computational thinking. However, the log data from student use could be used by others to explore data patterns. We are doing this in some of our other work (see our videos on graspable math and sonification) but havent explored it in this study. 

  • Icon for: Marion Usselman

    Marion Usselman

    Higher Ed Faculty
    May 16, 2017 | 03:49 p.m.

    In what types of classes are you implementing your program?  Are the high school students in a computer science or digital technology class? Or is this extracurricular?  How about the middle school students? 

  • Icon for: Heather Kim

    Heather Kim

    Researcher
    May 16, 2017 | 04:46 p.m.

    HI, very interesting project! I can see how exciting this kind of work would be exciting for students. Can you describe a bit of the professional development teachers receive to help them implement this?  Great video! 

  • Icon for: Erin Ottmar

    Erin Ottmar

    Co-Presenter
    May 16, 2017 | 05:52 p.m.

    Thanks Heather! We have yet to develop the specific PD for this project as its in the early stages. However, our idea is that teachers tjemselves are players and creators. By engaging in the exact process that their students will engage, they will be better positioned to anticipate and understand challenges, processes, and problem solving approaches specific to this activity. This is one of our next steps (with middle school teachers) to see if they themselves can create games and also experience the role of being a player. 

  • Icon for: Martin Storksdieck

    Martin Storksdieck

    Facilitator
    May 17, 2017 | 08:59 a.m.

    What an interesting project; I can easily see that the kids can be quite involved. I have two questions: 1) What is your working definition for "computational thinking"?  I am asking because I wonder which aspects of this concept is being activated by what kind of students when working with an easy-to-use game engine (and how you would know).  The second question is about your collaborator on the Philippines: are you doing this in both locations and if so, what differences, if any, do you note? 

  • Icon for: Erin Ottmar

    Erin Ottmar

    Co-Presenter
    May 18, 2017 | 10:47 a.m.

    Hi Martin

    At this point, we are focusing more of the problem solving aspects of CT within the context of finite state machines. we are beginning to explore measures to help us operationalize CT within the context of a game engine.

    We have had much success in the Phillipines and are planning on rerunning the study in US schools this fall. Its an empirical question whether or not there are cross-cultural differences or similarities and this is something we are excited to find out! 

  • Icon for: Bernadette Sibuma

    Bernadette Sibuma

    Researcher
    May 17, 2017 | 03:20 p.m.

    I like how you have older students designing games for younger students! 

    Can you elaborate on how you assess students' learning of computational thinking concepts?

     

     

  • Icon for: Ivon Arroyo

    Ivon Arroyo

    Presenter
    May 17, 2017 | 04:26 p.m.

    Many thanks Martin and Bernadette!

    We have been working with Jeannette Wing's definition of computational thinking

    Wing, J.M.(2006) Computational thinking. Communications of the ACM.  49(3): 33-35.

    (https://www.cs.cmu.edu/~15110-s13/Wing06-ct.pdf)

    We are considering computational thinking from a very broad perspective. Students may express their computational thinking in a variety of ways: as rules, as constraints, as conditions (if-then). However, there are more aspects we are considering such as analyzing the general product/solution/game as a whole, concurrency aspects that are important in a multiplayer game, how much they can distinguish between the game itself and the devices as supports to each of the players.

    However, Something very unique about this project (and not said in the video) is the way in which we ask students to specify games as FINITE STATE MACHINES. This means that we showed students how a state machine is specified, as actions and reactions, states and transitions between states, and asked them to specify the behavior of mobile devices as such state transition diagrams. We are measuring their computational thinking also as their ability to accurately specify these diagrams, and analyzing where they might stumble, and how the authoring tool might be able to assist them.

    Last, note that because this is an exploratory project, one of the important outcomes will be new constructs. We are still analyzing students' productions to define the "computational thinking" construct better. Stay in the loop for future research articles!

     

     
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    Ivon Arroyo
  • Icon for: Bernadette Sibuma

    Bernadette Sibuma

    Researcher
    May 17, 2017 | 04:29 p.m.

    This is very helpful - thank you for clarifying, Ivon!  I would love to hear about any research articles you generate from this work.

  • Icon for: Martin Storksdieck

    Martin Storksdieck

    Facilitator
    May 18, 2017 | 02:18 a.m.

    Yes, very helpful. Also good to know that it is exploratory, and that you are working on developing the concepts of CT more. This makes me wonder even more about the cultural differences between the US and the Philippines... 

  • Small default profile

    Erika Scheffler

    Undergraduate Student
    May 17, 2017 | 05:57 p.m.

    I think this is a really great concept for many reasons. I really enjoy the idea of having math games that expose students to computational thinking ideas through games associated with action and motion. Many times it can be hard getting students engaged and interested in math, especially when it comes to computation and this is a great way to peak the interest. It allow students to see different aspects of STEM and coming together through math and technology. These wearable games offer a fun outlet for students to practice math. I also really enjoy how you have the older students designing games for the younger ones because it supports learning on both ends. Great video!

  • Icon for: Brittany Adams

    Brittany Adams

    Undergraduate Student
    May 17, 2017 | 08:13 p.m.

    This is a really interesting concept! I love how students are up and moving around, keeping them engaged in the activity. Having the older students create games for the younger students is also a great idea because it encourages learning across multiple schools, getting the students involved with their peers. Do you anticipate making the application you used to create the games available for public use or do you play on keeping it more localized?

  • Icon for: Erin Ottmar

    Erin Ottmar

    Co-Presenter
    May 18, 2017 | 10:49 a.m.

    Our hope is that with some more time and testing, we can make it available for public use (where they could download the app and then also download the resources and instructions about how to make the materials). 

  • Icon for: Jackie DeLisi

    Jackie DeLisi

    Facilitator
    May 17, 2017 | 10:13 p.m.

    I love the idea of students developing their computational thinking while creating games for each other. In the beginning of your video you mention that students are often passive learners in their mathematics classrooms. This made me wonder what you needed to do to support teachers use of your games in their classrooms? Have you seen any differences in what teachers do as a result of using your tools with their students?

  • Icon for: Erin Ottmar

    Erin Ottmar

    Co-Presenter
    May 18, 2017 | 10:50 a.m.

    At this point, we (the researchers) have been the facilitators but we are currently working through thinking about the format measures and structure of PDs to work with teachers to see how this can facilitate teacher change. 

  • Icon for: Maureen Holden

    Maureen Holden

    K-12 Teacher
    May 18, 2017 | 10:03 a.m.

    I love how students are on the move! the concept of creating games for younger students is very motivating for all ages.

  • Icon for: Erin Ottmar

    Erin Ottmar

    Co-Presenter
    May 18, 2017 | 10:50 a.m.

    thanks Maureen!

  • Further posting is closed as the showcase has ended.