Dor Abrahamson, Professor

Closed (1) Debugging Failure: Fostering Youth Academic Resilience in Computer Science

Applications for Fall 2017 are now closed for this project.

Learning computer programming and computational literacy is quickly becoming a new civil right in the same way that traditional literacy and mathematical literacy have been recognized as essential emancipatory competencies. In collaboration with the 9 Dots Community Learning Center and the UCLA Graduate School of Education and Information Studies, the Embodied Design Research Laboratory at Berkeley's Graduate School of Education is designing, implementing, and evaluating an outside-of-school coding curriculum aimed at fostering student resilience, creativity, and independence when students encounter broken computer code.

What separates this project from similar efforts is that our approach attends to the social supports necessary to foster a culture of persistence and resilience in computer science, by framing coding as a practice that involves productive failure. We are aiming to embolden young students’ productive practices of failure storytelling in computer science, a field in which experts practice candid, pervasive, and collaborative discourse around errors (“bugs”). Our team of researchers and practitioners implement cycles of design-based research with three interventions: setting new norms around encountering, interrogating, and practicing expert debugging practices; leading instructor education workgroups focused on helping instructors notice the structure of failure stories and rehearse discourse-based responses; and building coding software that gives students metadata on their struggles and provides authentic debugging resources.

The URAP will participate as a full member of the design-based research team. The URAP will learn to: (a) conduct detailed interaction analyses of student-teacher conversations around debugging; (b) use these analyses to motivate new lesson designs at the learning center; (c) and conduct literature reviews and preliminary writing on research findings.

Day-to-day supervisor for this project: David DeLiema, Post-Doc

Qualifications: Qualifications: (a) high interest in interpersonal communication; (b) deep thinker; (c) attentive to detail; (d) open to learning about basic computer science concepts; (e) good writing skills; (f) interest in education.

Weekly Hours: 6-9 hrs

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