Computational Action in Action: Process and Tools that Empower Students to Make a Real-world Impact Using Technology
Author(s)Pang, Hannah H. (Nicole)
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How can we help K-12 students who are learning computer science and artificial intelligence (A.I.) feel motivated, competent, and empowered? The computational action framework, proposed by Tissenbaum, Sheldon, and Abelson, suggests that the preferable way is to ensure that young people are creating technology projects that address issues in their community. I add to this framework by creating the computational action process, which is composed of curriculum, toolkit, and website that teach five key concepts: defining a real-world problem; understanding users and communities; designing responsibly with and for users and communities; teamwork, project management, and implementation; and planning and making a long-lasting impact. From a research study conducted with 101 international young people in middle school and high school, results show that after learning the computational action process, students showed significant increase in computation skill, digital empowerment, and self-efficacy. Students also demonstrated an improved understanding of the impact of technology on people and society and improved ability to work towards solutions to ambiguous problems. This thesis describes the computational action process, presents the research, and analyzes the results, concluding with key findings, recommendations, and how this work contributes to the field of K-12 computer science education and A.I. literacy.
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science
Massachusetts Institute of Technology