Examining middle school students’ attitudes toward computing after participating in a physical computing unit

Tyler S. Love

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations

Abstract

Providing greater access to computer science (CS) education for K-12 students in the United States (U.S.) has increased interest in integrating CS concepts within authentic science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) contexts. Physical computing is one method that has demonstrated promising results in other countries (e.g. England) and has been receiving growing attention in the U.S., yet there remains limited research on physical computing within the U.S. Therefore, this study utilized a modified version of the Computing Attitude Questionnaire (Yadav, A., Mayfield, C., Zhou, N., Hambrusch, S., & Korb, J. T. (2014). Computational thinking in elementary and secondary teacher education. ACM Transactions on Computing Education, 14(1), 1–16) to examine changes in 71 middle school students’ attitudes toward computing after participating in a four-week physical computing unit. Students reported significant gains in all five computing attitude constructs (definition, comfort, interest, classroom applications, and career/future use). Further analyses revealed male students had significantly greater gains than females in the career/future use construct, and there were no significant differences when controlling for completion of prior engineering design coursework (PEDC). Additionally, while the majority (77%) of students indicated they preferred physical computing over screen-based experiences for future computing lessons, analyses found gender and PEDC were not significant predictors of students’ preference for learning computing concepts. This study provides implications for improving computer science instruction within authentic STEM contexts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalInteractive Learning Environments
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Education
  • Computer Science Applications

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