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Title: Computational Bodies: Grounding Computational Thinking Practices in Embodied Gesture
Authors: Fofang, Janet Bih
Weintrop, David
Moon, Peter
Williams-Pierce, Caro
Keywords: Learning Sciences
Issue Date: Jun-2021
Publisher: International Society of the Learning Sciences
Citation: Fofang, J. B., Weintrop, D., Moon, P., & Williams-Pierce, C. (2021). Computational Bodies: Grounding Computational Thinking Practices in Embodied Gesture. In de Vries, E., Hod, Y., & Ahn, J. (Eds.), Proceedings of the 15th International Conference of the Learning Sciences - ICLS 2021. (pp. 171-178). Bochum, Germany: International Society of the Learning Sciences.
Abstract: Computational thinking (CT) is increasingly becoming a part of classrooms across the K-12 spectrum. While we have a sense of what it looks like for older learners to engage with CT, it is less clear what authentic CT practices look like for learners in K-5 classrooms. Part of the challenge of identifying CT in earlier grades is learners’ lack of prior experience with computing and limited language to describe computational processes and practices. This study provides insights into how young learners use gestures as they engage in a set of CT-enhanced mathematics activities. This work focuses on a fourth-grade mathematics activity in which learners work to control a spherical robot as it navigates a mathematical maze. Our analysis reveals various ways that learners use gesture to complement existing virtual and physical tools available for expressing and enacting CT concepts and practices. In doing so, this work suggests both methodological and pedagogical opportunities for understanding CT with younger learners and advances our understanding of the role of gesture and embodiment as a means of supporting young learners’ engagement with CT.
Appears in Collections:ISLS Annual Meeting 2021

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