Promoting Computational Literacy for Children

Computational literacy, which encompasses the knowledge and ability to use computers and associated technologies, is a universal skill akin to reading and writing. To better prepare young people for this tech-driven world, we are working on a series of projects aimed at facilitating children’s learning of computational literacy through the design of innovative learning experiences and coding kits. Two ongoing projects include:

1) Defining and promoting AI literacy for children. This project includes two fundamental studies aimed at gaining an essential understanding of children’s AI learning: developing a universal AI literacy framework for children based on different AI-related learning content reported in relevant literature, and analyzing existing technologies for children’s AI learning. In the future, we will design and study children’s AI learning experiences from the perspectives of relevant stakeholders, such as children themselves and teachers, followed by the design, development, and deployment of new, playful AI learning tools and experiences specifically tailored for children.

2) Leveraging physical play to provide physical active coding experiences for children. Grounded in the theoretical foundation of embodied cognition and learning, our explorations consist of empirical investigations into how physical play can be combined with computational thinking concepts and skills. Additionally, we are designing and developing physical play-friendly coding kits that enable children to engage in computational thinking in physically active and playful ways.

Relevant Publications

Leveraging Physical Activities to Support Learning for Young People via Technologies: An Examination of Educational Practices Across the Field [LINK]
Junnan Yu, Tian Xu, Camryn Kelley, Janet Ruppert & Ricarose Roque
Review of Educational Research (Acceptance Rate: 5.3%; Five-Year Impact Factor: 16.6)

Supporting Physically Active CS-Ed for Children: Exploring the Design of Physical Play Friendly Coding Blocks [LINK]
Noah Cowit & Junnan Yu
In Extended Abstracts of the CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI EA ’24), Honolulu, HI, USA.

Exploring Computational Thinking with Physical Play Through Design [LINK]
Junnan Yu, Ronni Hayden & Ricarose Roque
In Proceedings of the 22nd Annual ACM Conference on Interaction Design and Children (IDC ’23), Chicago, IL, USA.

Young Children’s Perceptions of Coding and Implications [LINK]
Junnan Yu & Ricarose Roque
In Proceedings of the 2022 ACM Conference on Interaction Design and Children (IDC ’22), Braga, Portugal.

CodeAttach: Engaging Young Children in Computational Thinking Through Physical Play Activities [LINK]
Junnan Yu, Clement Zheng, Mariana Aki Tamashiro, Chrisopher Gonzalez-millan & Ricarose Roque
In Proceedings of the 14th ACM Conference on Tangible, Embedded, and Embodied Interaction (TEI ’20), Sydney, NSW, Australia.

Youth Civic Engagement Through Computing: Cases and Implications [LINK]
Junnan Yu, Janet Ruppert, Ricarose Roque & Ben Kirshner
ACM Inroads. 11, 4 (2020), 42–51.

A Review of Computational Toys and Kits for Young Children [LINK]
Junnan Yu & Ricarose Roque
International Journal of Child-Computer Interaction, (2019) 21: 17–36.

A Survey of Computational Kits for Young Children [LINK | Student Best Paper Award]
Junnan Yu & Ricarose Roque
In Proceedings of the 2018 ACM Conference on Interaction Design and Children (IDC ’18), Trondheim, Norway.