Evidence of Computational Thinking in the After-School Makerspace from Written Project Documentation
Abstract: This paper presents analyzed data from the first year of a three-year grant investigating computational thinking in an after-school makerspace that supports projects in circuitry, programmed robotics, and fabrication. To document evidence of computational thinking, a gamification platform with embedded questions to elicit student writing/reflecting was tested in year one. Coded student reflections illustrate that makerspace-type projects are capable of eliciting specific categories of computational thinking, and that the wording of reflection questions may prompt students to think in certain ways. Student reflections also illustrate the overlapping rather than discrete nature of computational thinking processes, with certain categories like algorithmic thinking, pattern recognition, and evaluation building on one another. Changes made to the research plan in year two are discussed.