Date

2015

Department or Program

Computer Science

Primary Wellesley Thesis Advisor

Orit Shaer

Abstract

Computational thinking is an increasingly popular topic for computer science educators, and the human computer interaction community has suggested the potential of Tangible User Interfaces to support children’s learning. This research aims to study how commercially available tangible technology toys, such as littleBits and KIBO, can promote the development of computational thinking for children in early elementary school. Evaluation included user studies with children in three different formal and informal educational settings. I investigated how each setting affects engagement, complexity, and collaboration. Findings demonstrate that TUIs support learning of computational thinking skills for young children in various settings, and can be used to further the discussion of how computational thinking is taught.

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