The Consume-Create Spectrum: Balancing Convenience and Computational Thinking in STEM Learning
Future school science standards, such as the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), emphasize the integration of simulation and modeling activities in the classroom environment. The extremes of these activities have two vastly different implementations. On one hand, a teacher can have students experiment on a pre-made simulation associated with the material. On the other hand, students can use, for example, an end-user programming tool to create the simulation from scratch. This allows students to not only experiment on, but also, to model the real world phenomenon being studied, a key component of computational thinking. However, the greater amount of time necessary for student authoring of simulations can make such an approach infeasible in the classroom environment. This paper presents a spectrum of strategies for integrating simulations into classrooms emphasizing our research at the Scalable Game Design Lab, University of Colorado Boulder as well as research from other entities. Starting at consuming simulations and adding more user interaction and authoring elements begins to provide a gentle slope from consumption towards simulation creation. Results indicate that many of these strategies are quite effective.
Ashok Basawapatna, Alexander Repenning, Kyu Han Koh, and Mark Savignano...presentation at the SIGCSE 2014 Conference, Atlanta, GA, March 2014.