Fred Martin

Creating Socially Relevant Mobile Apps: Infusing Computing into Middle School Curricula in Two School Districts

 In this paper, we share our experiences implementing a professional development program in two school districts with middle school teachers who integrated an introductory computer science curriculum into their teaching. The 15 to 20–hour curriculum was based on students collaboratively creating mobile apps for socially relevant purposes with MIT App Inventor. Eleven teachers infused the curriculum into technology, math, engineering, library and art courses. We investigated how teachers modified the curriculum to fit their respective standards and students’ needs.

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Empowering Middle School Students to Create Data-enabled Social Apps

MIT App Inventor has enabled middle school students to learn computing while creating their own apps-including apps that serve community needs. However, few resources exist for building apps that gather and share data. There is a need for new tools and instructional materials for students to build data-enbaled, community-focused apps. We developed an extension for App Inventor, called AppleVis, which allows app-makers to publish and retrieve data from our existing web-based collaborative data visualization platform. 

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Computing with a Community Focus: Outcomes from an App Inventor Summer Camp for Middle School Students

This paper describes the design and evaluation of a one-week App Inventor summer camp for middle school students with an explicit focus on addressing local community needs. The community focus of the camp was designed to appeal to a broad range of students. We conducted an in-depth interview study to examine its impact on students' attitudes and perceptions, and supplemented this with results from project evaluation. Our results indicate that students had positive experiences in learning and creating real apps for solving community problems.

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Computational Thinking for Youth

The ITEST Small Working Group on Computational Thinking (CT) has completed its White Paper titled: Computational Thinking for Youth.  The paper aims to describe what computational thinking looks like when practiced by youth in ITEST and other NSF funded programs and how educators can support growth in computational thinking.  It shares examples of CT as observed in middle school projects.  It also shares observations in the form of a model that describes three stages that youth

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