Yasmin B. Kafai

Yasmin B. Kafai
University of Pennsylvania | UP · Graduate School of Education

About

286
Publications
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Publications

Publications (286)
Article
Full-text available
The pandemic outbreak of COVID‐19 has highlighted an urgent need for infectious disease education for K‐12 students. To gather a better understanding of what educational interventions have been conducted and to what effect, we performed a scoping review. We identified and examined 23 empirical researcher‐ and teacher‐designed studies conducted in t...
Conference Paper
In this paper, we examine a co-design workshop in which youth redesigned a learning activity for critical engagement with computing for the Hour of Code, an annual event that offers hourlong introductory computing activities to youth. We conducted co-design workshops during summer 2021 in two cities with 12 youth of Color (ages 11-15 years), in whi...
Article
Learning is central to both artificial intelligence and human intelligence, the former focused on understanding how machines learn, the latter concerned with how humans learn. With the growing relevance of computational thinking, these two efforts have become more closely connected. This survey examines these connections and points to the need for...
Article
Full-text available
Over the past decade, initiatives around the world have introduced computing into K–12 education under the umbrella of computational thinking. While initial implementations focused on skills and knowledge for college and career readiness, more recent framings include situated computational thinking (identity, participation, creative expression) and...
Technical Report
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As advances in computational technologies are changing the fabric of society, computational thinking (CT) is increasingly seen as a fundamental skill that all students should learn. While the bulk of research on CT has focused on its integration into science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) content, there is a growing body of scholarship t...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Recent studies for developing CS identities promote interrogating dominant narratives about CS while learning computing in order to better understand how minoritized youth negotiate who they are and who they want to be in relation to computing and technology. In this study, we propose “restorying” as an approach to engage minoritized youth in exami...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
While much attention has focused on promoting computational thinking in K-12 CS education, much less attention has been paid to the equally important dimension of what it means to become connected to—or identify with—the discipline. Previous approaches to CS identity have mostly focused on students revealing their identifications in the form of dra...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Mindsets play an important role in persevering in computer science: while some learners perceive bugs as opportunities for learning, others become frustrated with failure and see it as a challenge to their abilities. Yet few studies and interventions take into account the motivational and emotional aspects of debugging and how learning environments...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
While many initiatives have broadened participation of minoritized youth in K-12 computing education, far fewer efforts have focused on expanding the social, political and cultural contexts of CS identity development. In this study, we propose a "restorying" pedagogy which engaged high school youth in interrogating dominant narratives about compute...
Article
Much attention in constructionism has focused on designing tools and activities that support learners in designing fully finished and functional applications and artefacts to be shared with others. But helping students learn to debug their applications often takes on a surprisingly more instructionist stance by giving them checklists, teaching them...
Article
Most constructionist efforts have focused on supporting learners with tools for designing with digital and/or physical media. Recent developments in life sciences now allow K‐12 learners to design with living materials, or to biodesign. In this paper, we report on the development of a biodesign studio activity called biocakes wherein teams of high...
Article
As researchers focus more on engaging youth with advanced technologies to build computational skills, there is a need to develop tools that support youth to become creators of digital content rather than consumers of these technologies. Scholars refer to this shift in becoming creators of technology as computational making, which enables new forms...
Article
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Background and Context: While assessment of computational thinking concepts, practices, and perspectives is at the forefront of K-12 CS education, supporting student communication about computation has received relatively little attention. Objective: To examine the usability of process-based portfolios for capturing students’ communication about th...
Article
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Given the increased need for broadening participation in computing, there must be a focus not just on providing culturally relevant content but also on building accessible and inclusive computational tools. Most efforts to design culturally responsive computational tools redesign surface features, often through making nominal changes to add cultura...
Article
Electronic textiles, which integrate computation with fabrics through a redesigned interface of microcontrollers, sensors, and actuators, have expanded possibilities not only for engineering, fashion, and human-computer interaction but also for computer science education itself. While individual studies involving electronic textiles have shown prom...
Article
Advances in biodesign, in which principles of engineering and technology are applied to the life sciences, are moving out of laboratories and into daily life. However, they have not made their way into K-12 classrooms. Today’s students need to become familiar with biotechnologies so that they can make informed decisions about how they will be appli...
Article
Full-text available
Background and context Promoting open-ended projects presents new opportunities and challenges for inclusive teaching in CS classrooms. While efforts have been made to develop inclusive curricula, little research has focused on ways teachers apply curricula in their classrooms to promote inclusion. Objective To understand the challenges faced in f...
Article
Purpose The purpose of this paper is to report changes when a classroom-based makerspace moved from face-to-face to an online setting. Design/methodology/approach To better understand changes in teaching maker activities, as they move from face-to-face to online contexts, the authors analyzed video and interview data from six weeks of an introduct...
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
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Much of maker education’s expansion has focused on STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) learning, leaving out equally promising opportunities for integrating arts learning. In this paper we share findings from a project in which high school students created electronic-textiles-based art representing features of a community important...
Article
Perspective-taking – the consideration of others’ mental states and subjective experiences – has been acknowledged as a vital component of interpersonal interactions and communication across divergent social groups. Yet, perspective-taking is neither simple nor automatic; it requires motivation and practice. Though still a nascent area of research,...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
In synthetic biology scientists genetically modify-or biohack-cells in order to repurpose their function or products. While synthetic biology is gaining societal relevance, few opportunities exist for K-12 students to have actual biodesign or biohacking experiences. We developed and implemented a workshop in which high school students genetically m...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
As synthetic biology becomes more prevalent, there is a call to critically and publicly evaluate the benefits and risks of such technologies. Microblogs like Twitter have the potential for engaging citizens in civic discourse about such issues but also pose challenges due to partisan behaviors and length limitations. Given the saliency of social me...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
In this symposium we are examining the affordances that particular materials hold for supporting learning biology inside and outside of school along three dimensions: (1) digital materials that encompass screens and software through which students can interact, (2) textile materials that allow students to wear bodysuits that can help them visualize...
Conference Paper
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Minecraft-a commercially successful and popular sandbox game-is increasingly used in formal educational spaces. While there is significant research on how online gaming can support positive outcomes when used as a pedagogical tool, little research has investigated how gamers collaborate to learn in informal spaces. We conducted an analysis of a cur...
Article
Rising political polarization and the spread of disinformation have highlighted the need to re-assess and broaden existing approaches to civic education. Though video games have been presented as tools that could capitalize on youth’s interest-driven engagement with technology to support situated modes of civic learning, their actual contributions...
Article
This year on March 12, 2019, Mike Eisenberg passed away—an enormous loss for the learning arts and sciences community. A computer scientist by vocation, a writer with passionate insights, and a maker at heart, he was an endearing one of a kind. He spent his professional career at the University of Boulder in Colorado, where he established the Craft...
Article
Background and Context: Physical computing involves complex negotiations of multiple, on and off-screen tasks, which calls for research on how to best structure collaborative work to ensure equitable learning. Objective: We focus on how pairs self-organized their multi-domain tasks in physical computing, and how their social interactions supported...
Article
Background/Context Though the maker movement has proliferated in out-of-school settings, there remains a design challenge of how to effectively integrate maker activities into K–12 classrooms. In other contexts, though, creative design and production have historically been successfully integrated in classrooms through studio models common to the ar...
Conference Paper
The increased interest in promoting CS education for all has been coalescing around the idea of "computational thinking." Several framings for promoting computational thinking in K-12 education have been proposed by practitioners and researchers that each place different emphases on either (1) skill and competence building, (2) creative expression...
Article
Portfolios have recently gained traction within computer science education as a way to assess students’ computational thinking and practices. Whereas traditional assessments such as exams tend to capture learning within artificial settings at a single point in time, portfolios provide more authentic opportunities to document a trajectory of student...
Chapter
Full-text available
Iterative design is an important aspect of computational thinking in which students learn to face challenges and persevere in fixing them. Yet we know little of how school teachers can support students in using iterative practices. In this chapter, we consider the teaching practices of two experienced computer science teachers who implemented a new...
Conference Paper
While much research focused on making emphasizes digital and tangible media, few studies have explored making with biology, or biomaking, where people use cells as fabrication units to grow or "make" desired materials for designing real world applications. This lack is especially glaring considering how biomaking and related industries are often al...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Maker activities have a strong focus on creating artifacts as a rich context for learning but offer few opportunities for student makers to articulate and reflect on their acts of learning and making. Yet beyond artifact creation, acts of communication enable novice makers to reflect on their learning and share their ideas and resources with larger...
Article
Full-text available
The development of student identities—their interests in computer science, perceptions of the discipline, and sense of belonging in the field—is critical for broadening participation of underrepresented groups in computing. This paper reports on the design of portfolios in which two classes of high school students reflected on the process of making...
Conference Paper
Computational thinking has become the calling card for re-introducing coding into schools. While much attention has focused on how students engage in designing systems, applications, and other computational artifacts as a measure of success for computational thinking, far fewer efforts have focused on what goes into remediating problems in designin...
Conference Paper
Just over a decade ago, various electronic textile construction kits have emerged with Arduino-based microcontrollers, sensors, and actuators that can be sewn together with conductive thread to create wearables augmented with new functionalities. These kits were designed to broaden participation in and perspectives about computing along with introd...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Many efforts of curricula design have concentrated on expanding participation in K-12 CS education by introducing innovative approaches but few have focused on addressing longstanding equity issues through their choices of culturally relevant materials and activities. In this paper, we describe our efforts in using electronic textiles which include...
Conference Paper
The links between music and computation date back at least three decades. This trend has led to the development of learning environments for novices to make music and learn computational concepts. However, research connecting music and computation is mostly situated within the context of on-screen programming, with little research involving hybrid,...
Article
Much attention has been paid to young people’s increased participation in digital publics and its potential impact on their development and learning. However, few studies have examined the ethics in online play and their interactions as a critical aspect in the development of youth digital culture. In this paper we turn to the issue of cheating, a...
Article
Approaches to media literacy in the twenty‐first century emphasize youth production of media over consumption of commercial media and, because of this focus on production, are often considered under the umbrella do‐it‐yourself (DIY). We review examples of youth DIY media productions to highlight how creativity is contextualized with various tools i...
Conference Paper
The fields of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM), computer gaming and activities with digital technologies associated with the Maker movement are still dominated by a rather homogeneous group of (mostly white male) people though there are numerous initiatives and research attempting to change this. With this workshop we aim to bring t...
Article
Making games is a prime example of constructionist learning, in particular in the age of digital play. Papert saw the relevance of making games for learning and literacy in terms of two powerful ideas: objects-to-think-with and hard fun. The article reviews reasons for the failure and successes of constructionist gaming over the last two decades.
Article
Research on productive failure has examined the dimensions which are most beneficial for students’ learning of well-defined canonical problems in math and science. But failure plays an equally important role in solving open-ended, or ill-defined, design problems that have become prominent in many STEM-oriented maker activities. In understanding the...
Article
Full-text available
Recent discussions of making have focused on developing out-of-school makerspaces and activities to provide more equitable and enriching learning opportunities for youth. Yet school classrooms present a unique opportunity to help broaden access, diversify representation, and deepen participation in making. In turning to classrooms, we want to under...
Conference Paper
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1Recent discussions have focused on rich STEM learning opportunities and various equity challenges in setting up and researching out-of-school makerspaces and activities. In turning to school classrooms, we want to understand the critical practices that teachers employ in broadening and deepening access to making. In this paper, we investigate two...
Conference Paper
In this paper, we present the development of a "reconstruction kit" for e-textiles, which transforms fixed-state construction kits---maker tools and technologies that focus on the creation of semi-permanent projects---into flex-state construction kits that allow for endless deconstruction and reconstruction. The kit uses modular pieces that allow s...
Article
Full-text available
Learning about circuitry by connecting a battery, light bulb, and wires is a common activity in many science classrooms. In this paper, we expand students’ learning about circuitry with electronic textiles, which use conductive thread instead of wires and sewable LEDs instead of lightbulbs, by integrating programming sensor inputs and light outputs...
Article
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Serious games should focus on connected gaming, which is combining the instructionist approach on having students play educational games for learning with the constructionist approach on having students make their own games for learning. Constructionist activities have always been part of the larger gaming ecology but have traditionally received fa...
Article
Most research in primary and secondary computing education has focused on understanding learners within formal classroom communities, leaving aside the growing number of promising informal online programming communities where young users contribute, comment, and collaborate on programs to facilitate learning. In this article, we examined trends in...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Most of the previous research has focused on gendered or racial representations in either game playing or making contexts. In this paper, we adopt an intersectional perspective by examining gender and race identity representations and constructions within Minecraft, a sandbox game, popular with millions of youth. Our research focuses not only on ga...
Conference Paper
In this paper, we report on the study of a new virtual epidemic called the Dragon Swooping Cough, a newly designed virus unleashed on the youth virtual world of Whyville.net in two stages during December 2015 and April 2016. Our overall goal in this study was to design experiential learning of infectious disease in a safe but epidemiologically and...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
We report on the development and implementation of biomakerlab, a wetlab starter kit for synthetic biology activities in K-12. In synthetic biology, participants make their own DNA-gene by gene-and then grow their designs into real applications by inserting them into microorganisms to develop different traits and characteristics provided by the gen...
Conference Paper
How can we design for more active participation and engagement in massive online virtual worlds? While many online communities, be they online games or virtual worlds, have been created or used ostensibly with learning goals in mind, relatively little has been studied about how to motivate members collectively (rather than individually or in small...
Chapter
We are proposing to reframe computational thinking as computational participation by moving from a predominantly individualistic view of programming to one that includes a greater focus on the underlying social and creative dimensions in learning to code. This reframing as computational participation consists of three dimensions: functional, politi...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
In this paper, we examine students? learning about computing by designing, coding, and remixing electronic textiles with sensor inputs and light outputs. We conducted a workshop with 23 high school students ages 16-17 years who learned how to craft and code circuits with the LilyPad Arduino, an electronic textile construction kit. Our analyses not...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
The majority of electronic textile (e-textile) activities for beginners focus on making and coding individual projects rather than collaborative designs, which often excludes potentially fruitful collaborations. In this paper, we report on findings from an e-textile workshop in which high school youth (16-17 years old) worked in pairs to design int...
Conference Paper
Learning to use a construction kit to design, make, and program electronic textiles (e-textiles) has been found to be a rich context for students' learning of crafting, engineering and programming. We propose the development of what we call a 'deconstruction' kit---the design of faulty e-textile artifacts that students need to de- and reconstruct--...
Conference Paper
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The civic world is rapidly changing in response to the affordances of the digital age, which ushered the rise of participatory civics: interactive peer-based modes of civic action. In the spirit of Dewey's vision of civic education as participation in a community, video games have been presented as a potential site for practicing civic interactions...
Book
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In Diversifying Barbie and Mortal Kombat, the third edited volume in the series that includes From Barbie to Mortal Kombat and Beyond Barbie and Mortal Kombat, we expand the discussions on gender, race, and sexuality in gaming. We include intersectional perspectives on the experiences of diverse players, non-players and designers and promote inclus...
Article
Seeking to reframe computational thinking as computational participation.
Conference Paper
Full-text available
While here is ample research on how youth are connected in online spaces and how youth participate online via sharing and reviewing artifacts, yet less is known about how these social connections and contributions emerge, especially in the context of physical making and what can they contribute to learning and assessment. Thus, our symposium primar...