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Thursday, October 3 • 3:30pm - 4:30pm
Connected Learning in Early Childhood

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Families@Play: Supporting Young Children’s Understanding of Computational Thinking Through Unplugged Family Activities
Sinem Siyahhan, Bekir Mugayitoglu

Throughout the last decade, computational thinking (CT) has emerged as a set of concepts, practices, and perspectives (Brennan & Resnick, 2012) that everyone (not just computer scientists) needs to develop to participate in the 21st century successfully. While a significant amount of effort has been put into integrating CT across the preK-12 curriculum, an area that still needs further investigation is how we can support young children’s understanding of CT in the context of the home. This workshop aims to address this gap by (a) inviting participants to learn about the unplugged CT family activities developed and tested by the researchers, and (b) engaging them in a design thinking process where they create their own unplugged CT activities for families with young children (ages 4 to 7). The workshop will conclude with a reflection on participants’ experiences and a group discussion on the challenges of and opportunities for this area of research and development.

Conversational Agents as Educational Video Co-Viewers for Young Children
Ying Xu, Mark Warschauer

Science television shows are an important source of informal education and enrichment for preschool-aged children in the United States, who spend an average of two hours daily on screen media at home or in other non-school settings. However, the educational benefits of television face an important limitation: the medium does not allow children to interact with the content in any true sense. This limitation can be overcome by family members coviewing shows with children and providing conversational scaffolding, but research suggests that this practice is not common, especially for children in lower-socioeconomic households.

To maximize the benefits of time spent on screen media, this project leverages an intelligent conversational agent (CA) —an on-screen character capable of processing and responding to spoken language—to add social contingency into children’s experience watching science videos. Specifically, the interactive character intermittently pauses the video and asks children questions, and offers contingent feedback that varies based on children’s responses. A field test showed that children enjoyed the interactive viewing experience and actively engaged in scientific inquiry with the CA. This finding suggests that co-viewing with a CA may enhance children’s engagement, and can potentially benefit their science learning and oral language development. Implications and future directions are discussed.

Thinking Sideways: Computational Thinking and Early Literacy in the Public Library
Claudia Haines, Paula Langsam

We need diverse and divergent ideas to solve big problems. How do we prepare young children to be able to communicate and express themselves in a connected world? What are the key critical thinking skills that young children (ages 3-8), and their families, need in order to understand, navigate, and create in all media formats? We use playful, child-led activities to explore the relationship between early literacy and computational thinking skills. Creating low-stress, informal learning experiences supports young children as they become successful problem-solvers, creative thinkers, and lifelong learners in informal education spaces.

Yes, They Can Make That: A Study of Young Learners in the World's First Early Childhood Fab Lab
 Elisabeth Sylvan

The Center for Childhood Creativity (CCC), the Bay Area Discovery Museum’s (BADM) research and advisory division, is investigating how young children’s experiences in a Fab Lab impact their understanding of and interest in digital fabrication and how to best design makerspace experiences for ages 4 to 10. This research focused on providing children experience with a 3D printer, laser cutter, and vinyl cutter. Nine 7-to 10-year-olds and twelve 4- to 5-year-olds engaged in two respective age-appropriate Fab Lab programs. All participants are completing a series of pre- and post-assessments that investigate developmental differences in and effects of their Fab Lab experience on: (1) understanding of the three digital fabrication tools; (2) ideas about engineering design processes; (3) self-efficacy with regard to digital fabrication; and (4) general impressions of their Fab Lab experience. Observational data is being collected including photographs of children’s projects and journals (notebooks for planning and reflection). Additionally, educators and parents are being asked to complete a survey and/or interview on their views and experiences with early childhood maker spaces. Due to the novelty of digital fabrication activities for children, this work will beneficially provide unique insight into young individuals’ experiences in the world’s first early childhood Fab Lab.

avatar for Elisabeth Sylvan

Elisabeth Sylvan

Managing Director, Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society at Harvard

Sinem Siyahhan

Associate Professor, Cal State San Marcos
Sinem Siyahhan is Associate Director of the CSUSM Center for Research and Engagement in STEM Education. She is an Associate Professor of Educational Technology and Learning Sciences, and a core faculty member in the Educational Leadership Joint Doctoral Program at California State... Read More →

Mark Warschauer

Professor of Education, University of California, Irvine
Mark Warschauer ( markw@uci.edu ) is a Professor of Education at UC Irvine, where he directs the Digital Learning Lab. He was formerly Director of the Teaching and Learning Research Center at UCI, as well as Associate Dean and Interim Dean of the School of Education. His research... Read More →
avatar for Bekir Mugayitoglu

Bekir Mugayitoglu

Computer Science Educator, STEM Family
Bekir Mugayitoglu received his doctorate in Instructional Technology and Leadership from Duquesne University’s School of Education in 2016. While completing the program, he worked for Carnegie Mellon University’s Robotics Academy as a content developer of games that immersed students... Read More →
avatar for Claudia Haines

Claudia Haines

Youth Services Librarian, Homer Public Library
I am a youth services librarian, consultant and author. I support the diverse literacy and learning needs of kids, teens and families with dynamic programs, access to great media of all kinds and community collaborations. I advise and train other librarians on media mentorship and... Read More →

Paula Langsam

Librarian, DC Public Library

Ying Xu

University of California, Irvine

Thursday October 3, 2019 3:30pm - 4:30pm PDT
Doheny Beach A 311 Peltason Dr., Irvine, CA, 92697