Bradley and Rochester Institute of Technology researchers study impact of K-12 computing

Computing programs run by government agencies, commercial groups and nonprofits have cropped up to provide young students with a computing education.
Computing programs run by government agencies, commercial groups and nonprofits have cropped up to provide young students with a computing education. | File photo
Researchers from Bradley University and the Rochester Institute of Technology recently launched a five-year study, using $1.9 million in funding from the National Science Foundation, that will examine the long-term impact of computing activities for K-12 students.
 
“To increase the number of skilled tech workers, we need to have effective practices for engaging students, as well as piquing and holding their interest so that they pursue it as a career,” Bradley associate professor of game design Monica McGill said. She is leading the study with RIT assistant professor of interactive games and media Adrienne Decker.
 
Numerous computing programs run by government agencies, commercial groups and nonprofits have cropped up to provide young students with a computing education, but little research has been done to ensure that these programs are having a long-term effect.
 
“Seeing the explosion of these organizations, the questions we naturally asked were, ‘Does this work and what parts are working best?’” Decker said. “There is little to no longitudinal data that exists, so we are setting out to find the answers…It’s important that young people are not just consumers of technology, but also creators of technology. We don’t want everyone to become a programmer, but they do need to understand how to use these tools and push technology further in their chosen field.”

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