David Weintrop

David Weintrop
University of Maryland, College Park | UMD, UMCP, University of Maryland College Park

About

82
Publications
38,011
Reads
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2,218
Citations
Additional affiliations
September 2010 - June 2016
Northwestern University
Position
  • PhD Student

Publications

Publications (82)
Article
Full-text available
Computational thinking is an essential 21st-century skill that all youth should develop in order to navigate and succeed in an increasingly computational world. For all youth to have hands-on opportunities to develop essential computational thinking skills, libraries and informal learning environments play a critical role. This is especially true f...
Article
This study examines the current state of assessment of computational thinking (CT) programming in public libraries in the United States. In particular, this study identifies the assessment tools and strategies that public library staff use to evaluate the success of CT youth programming, as well as how they share these assessment results, what they...
Article
Block-based programming (BBP) environments have become increasingly commonplace computer science education. Despite a rapidly expanding ecosystem of BBP environments, text-based languages remain the dominant programming paradigm, motivating the transition from BBP to text-based programming (TBP). Support students in transitioning from BBP to TBP is...
Article
Given the importance of broadening participation in computer science classes, this paper investigates the use of participatory design as a means to develop a culturally relevant computer science curriculum. The Scratch Encore curriculum is designed for 5th–8th grade (10–14 years old) learners and seeks to present computer science concepts in a rele...
Article
This paper argues for a re‐examination of the nature and goals of broad computing education initiatives. Instead of starting with specific values or goals, we instead begin by considering various desired endpoints of computing instruction and then work backward to reason about what form learning activities might take and what are the underlying val...
Article
Background and Context: Computational thinking (CT) is an essential skill for all youth to succeed in our technology and information-rich world. While CT has a growing presence within K-12 classrooms, libraries play an essential role in introducing these critical skills to all. Objective: Assessing learning in libraries is difficult given their inf...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
The importance of integrating computational thinking (CT) into existing school structures, like core content domains, has emerged from efforts to improve computer science education in the U.S. In the past, computer science has often been treated as an elective or enrichment activity, which limits students' exposure to foundational computing ideas,...
Article
Background and Context Educators make consequential curricular decisions, often with little support, particularly as it relates to equity and how to support all students. Objective This paper investigates the use of a rubric to support educators evaluating computer science curricula, especially with regards to equity. Method Seventeen in-service...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Educators have argued for the value of integrating the big ideas of computing, captured under the term computational thinking (CT), into subjects and classrooms across the K-12 spectrum. Working within a researcher-practitioner partnership, we developed activities designed to integrate CT into a fourth-grade mathematics classroom using the Sphero r...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Robots and robotics toolkits are becoming a growing part of the introductory computing landscape. One very common approach for the use of robotics in learning contexts is to have kids construct their own robots. This paper explores the affordances of focusing the activity of construction in robot-related activities on the setting rather than on the...
Article
Background. Cybersecurity is of increasing importance in our interconnected world, yet the field has a growing workforce deficit and an underrepresentation of women and people of color. In an effort to address these issues, many digital games have been created to teach individuals about cybersecurity and keeping themselves, their data, and their ne...
Conference Paper
The design of most learning environments focuses on supporting students in making, constructing, and putting together projects on and off the screen, with much less attention paid to the many issues—problems, bugs, or traps—that students invariably encounter along the way. In this symposium, we present different theoretical and disciplinary perspec...
Article
In response to the growing call to bring the powerful ideas of computer science to all learners, education decision makers, including teachers and administrators, are tasked with making consequential decisions on what curricula to use. Often, these decision makers have not been trained in computer science and are unfamiliar with the concepts taught...
Article
Considering how block-based programming environments and tools might be used at the introductory level and beyond.
Conference Paper
As physical computing devices proliferate, researchers and educators push to make them more engaging to learners. One approach is to make the act of programming them more interactive and responsive via live programming so that program edits are immediately reflected in the behavior of the physical device. To understand the impact of live programmin...
Conference Paper
Participatory design is an essential design strategy for creating artifacts and experiences that reflect the voices of the population being designed for and with. The participatory design process can serve not only to research resulting artifacts but also as an empowering activity for those who participate. This paper explores how participatory des...
Article
The last ten years have seen a proliferation of introductory programming environments for younger learners. Increasingly, these environments are moving into the “cloud” where they can be accessed through web browsers and run on a variety of devices including tablets and smartphones. The shift to online settings enables a variety of powerful pedagog...
Conference Paper
The success of block-based programming environments like Scratch and Alice has resulted in a growing presence of the block-based modality in classrooms. For example, in the United States, a new, nationally-administered computer science exam is evaluating students' understanding of programming concepts using both block-based and text-based presentat...
Conference Paper
The introduction of the Advanced Placement (AP) Computer Science Principles course changed the high school computer science (CS) landscape in the United States. For the first time an AP course was designed to broaden participation in computing and attract all students as opposed to being designed to challenge the highest performing students. The go...
Conference Paper
Computational thinking (CT) is increasingly becoming a part of the K-12 educational landscape. While high schools with computer science teachers or technology coaches on staff are well positioned to help teachers integrate computational thinking into instruction , early childhood through middle schools (grades p-8) are often less well equipped. Fur...
Conference Paper
The underrepresentation of women and minorities in the field of computer science is well documented. Due to this lack of representation, efforts to broaden participation in computing abound. One manner with which to do this is through the development of culturally relevant curricula. Education literature encourages the use of culturally relevant te...
Conference Paper
Visual block-based programming environments (VBBPEs) such as Scratch and Alice are increasingly being used in introductory computer science lessons across elementary school grades. These environments, and the curricula that accompany them, are designed to be developmentally-appropriate and engaging for younger learners but may introduce challenges...
Article
There is growing diversity in the design of introductory programming environments. Where once all novices learned to program in conventional text-based languages, today, there exists a growing ecosystem of approaches to programming including graphical, tangible, and scaffolded text environments. To date, relatively little work has explored the rela...
Conference Paper
A new wave of collaborative robots designed to work alongside humans is bringing the automation historically seen in large-scale industrial settings to new, diverse contexts. However, the ability to program these machines often requires years of training, making them inaccessible or impractical for many. This paper rethinks what robot programming i...
Conference Paper
A new wave of collaborative robots designed to work alongside humans is bringing the automation historically seen in large-scale industrial settings to new, diverse contexts. However, the ability to program these machines often requires years of training, making them inaccessible or impractical for many. This project rethinks what robot programming...
Article
There is a great deal of overlap between the set of practices collected under the term “computational thinking” and the mathematical habits of mind that are the focus of much mathematics instruction. Despite this overlap, the links between these two desirable educational outcomes are rarely made explicit, either in classrooms or in the literature....
Conference Paper
Computational thinking is increasingly important within modern society. It is essential that K-12 students are introduced to the powerful ideas of computational thinking and given opportunities to develop their computational thinking practices. Virtual reality (VR), a technological tool with increasing prevalence in society and schools, has the pot...
Article
The number of students taking high school computer science classes is growing. Increasingly, these students are learning with graphical, block-based programming environments either in place of or prior to traditional text-based programming languages. Despite their growing use in formal settings, relatively little empirical work has been done to und...
Conference Paper
The last ten years have seen a proliferation of introductory programming environments designed for learners across the K-12 spectrum. These environments include visual block-based tools, text-based languages designed for novices, and, increasingly, hybrid environments that blend features of block-based and text-based programming. This paper present...
Conference Paper
Blocks-based, graphical programming environments are increasingly becoming the way that novices are being introduced to the practice of programming and the field of computer science more broadly. An open question surrounding the use of such tools is how well they prepare learners for using more conventional text-based programming languages. In an e...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
As more elementary schools commit to integrating computer science instruction into their curricula, they seek guidance on what concepts are appropriate for students at different grade levels. Currently, little is known about how best to sequence computer science learning across elementary grades. In this paper, we present an analysis of 123 student...
Article
The ability to express ideas in a computationally meaningful way is becoming increasingly important in our technological world. In response to the growing importance of computational literacy skills, new intuitive and accessible programming environments are being designed. This paper presents a framework for classifying the ways that block-based in...
Article
Computer science (CS) is becoming an increasingly diverse domain. This paper reports on an initiative designed to introduce underrepresented populations to computing using an eclectic, multifaceted approach. As part of a yearlong computing course, students engage in Maker activities, participatory simulations, and computing projects that foreground...
Article
Blocks-based programming is becoming the way that learners are being introduced to programming and computer science. Led by the popularity of tools like Scratch, Alice, and Code.org's Hour of Code activities, many new programming environments and initiatives are employing the blocks-based modality. This trend can be seen in the growing number of cl...
Article
Full-text available
Science and mathematics are becoming computational endeavors. This fact is reflected in the recently released Next Generation Science Standards and the decision to include “computational thinking” as a core scientific practice. With this addition, and the increased presence of computation in mathematics and scientific contexts, a new urgency has co...
Article
Video games offer an exciting opportunity for learners to engage in computational thinking in informal contexts. This paper describes a genre of learning environments called constructionist video games that are especially well suited for developing learners' computational thinking skills. These games blend features of conventional video games with...
Article
In this paper we discuss some of the central challenges to rigorously studying blocks-based programming. We categorize these challenges into four groups: design, context, evaluation, and trajectory. For each category, we breakdown specific issues we confront as researchers in trying to isolate the blocks-based modality and outline our own strategie...
Conference Paper
The rise of "Bring Your Own Device" programs, the emergence of wearables and interactive electronics, and the growing presence of the "Internet of Things" in the workplace, all present new challenges to members of the IT profession. To prepare students for this ever-changing landscape, we propose the use of low-cost, wearable badges to introduce le...
Conference Paper
Blocks-based programming environments are becoming increasingly common in introductory programming courses, but to date, little comparative work has been done to understand if and how this approach affects students' emerging understanding of fundamental programming concepts. In an effort to understand how tools like Scratch and Blockly differ from...
Conference Paper
This dissertation investigates the comparative affordances and drawbacks of blocks-based, text-based, and hybrid blocks/text introductory programming tools. Blocks-based programming environments are growing in popularity and are increasingly being used in formal introductory programming contexts. To date, much of the work evaluating such tools has...
Conference Paper
Blocks-based programming tools are becoming increasingly common in high-school introductory computer science classes. Such contexts are quite different than the younger audience and informal settings where these tools are more often used. This paper reports findings from a study looking at how high school students view blocks-based programming tool...
Conference Paper
This poster presents an environment and set of pedagogical strategies designed to explore how best to use blocks-based programming tools to prepare learners for future, text-based programming languages. Starting with the snap! programming environment, we added the capability to view the JavaScript equivalent of any blocks-based script authored insi...
Conference Paper
Graphical blocks-based programming environments, such as Scratch and Snap!, are becoming increasingly popular tools for introducing learners to programming in formal educational settings. However, a growing body of research is finding that students struggle when transitioning from these tools to more conventional, text-based programming languages....
Article
Research on the effectiveness of introductory programming environments often relies on post-test measures and attitudinal surveys to support its claims; but such instruments lack the ability to identify any explanatory mechanisms that can account for the results. This paper reports on a study designed to address this issue. Using Noss and Hoyles' c...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
This paper presents a pair of online, interactive assessments designed to measures students' computational thinking skills. The assessments are part of a larger project to bring computational thinking into high school STEM classrooms. Each assessment includes interactive tools that highlight the power of computation in the practice of scientific an...
Article
In recent years much research has explored the potential of using video games in education. This effort has produced many interesting games though it is unclear if "educational video games" have achieved their promise. Similarly, for many years constructionists have engaged children in learning across a variety of contexts, including game design. W...
Article
We present the design of an interactive tabletop exhibit intended to engage visitors in free-form computer programming activities at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, California. We describe our design goals and outline challenges associated with creating this interactive experience for a free-choice learning environment. We review resu...
Chapter
In this chapter, framed by Vygotsky’s sociocultural theory, Wilensky and Papert’s restructuration theory, and Noss and Hoyles’ theoretical construct of webbing, the authors explore four practical design principles facilitating the creation of learning environments that can overcome the challenge of introducing learners to computational expression i...
Conference Paper
In this paper we present a novel approach to the design of game-based learning environments in which the content to be taught is embodied by the opponents the learners compete against as they play. By providing the player with the resources to make sense of the concepts exemplified by their opponents, as well as the tools needed to incorporate the...
Conference Paper
RoboBuilder is a blocks-based, program-to-play game designed to introduce students to core aspects of computational thinking in a fun and engaging environment. The game employs a constructionist design to challenge players to invent and implement strategies to control an on-screen robot using a specially designed visual programming language. During...
Conference Paper
This workshop, intended for CS educators from middle school through undergrad, will introduce participants to NetLogo. NetLogo is an easy-to-learn multi-agent language and integrated modeling environment in widespread use in classrooms (and research labs) globally. This hands-on tutorial will highlight computational modeling in the natural and soci...
Article
In this chapter, framed by Vygotsky's sociocultural theory, Wilensky and Papert's restructuration theory, and Noss and Hoyles' theoretical construct of webbing, the authors explore four practical design principles facilitating the creation of learning environments that can overcome the challenge of introducing learners to computational expression i...

Projects

Projects (2)
Project
To support computational and algebraic thinking in elementary grades. To explore how computational and mathematical thinking are mutually supportive as children program robots in mathematics classrooms.