Maria Romero's Blog

Here I provide a weekly update regarding my personal contributions to the larger project efforts. You can also visit the other researchers' blogs by following the links below.

Jillianna's Blog | Jazzmine's Blog | Project Blog

Table of Contents

Week 1

This week was our first time meeting as a group. We discussed logistics such as when and where we would be meeting on this semester. We also discussed a brief timeline of things we want to accomplish month by month of this year. We decided that next week we would begin looking at background information in hopes that it will help us build what we want our project to look like.

Week 2

This week I found two articles that I think would help us with our project. The first was an artile about a website that used coding errors to teach coding. The website has the user fix code and allows them to compete with others in 'code duels'. I think This is somewhat similar to what we want to do but, it is clear that it is at a more advanced level. This website was more geared to college students or those with a bit more coding experience. The second article I found was about how simulations and gaming were becoming used more and more in teaching. The article discusses how more people are beginning to look at ways in which these can both be adapted to teach different subjects. It mentioned that some people are hesistant to change from the traditional ways of teaching but that these new methods seem to work for a lot of students.

Week 3

This week we met as a group to discuss the articles that we found. I think that we have a lot of background information that will help us later when we are writing a formal report. Next week we will not be having our usual meeting as both Jillianna and Jazzmine will be at the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing!

Week 4

This week I met with a group at Emmanuel College who are also interested in a project similar to ours. We are going to work with them in looking for a contact for our project. I am excited that other COF schools are interested in coding with students in middle school!

Week 5

This week we met with our advisor and came up with a list of questions about our project that we need to figure out in order to stay on track. We are still looking at our target audience and working on a contact and how to get in touch with them. We are deciding whether or not we will be using scratch or something else in order to teach some of the concepts at the beginning. We are also planning on creating another timeline.

Week 6

This week we talked about some of our decisions from last week. We are definitely looking at middle schoolers and plan on working with scratch. We also came up with a few places where we may get into contact with someone who has a contact for us at a middle school where we can reach our target audience.

Week 7

This week we met again and updated one another on our progress with a contact. Nothing yet but we are still waiting to hear back from a few people. We are planning on using Scratch and decided that we will make samples for next week teaching variables!

Week 8

This week we talked about the projects that we created. We all focused on how to teach variables in scratch. We ended up realizing that we all had done different versions at different levels of difficulties. I focused on teaching concepts and demonstrating them through an example I created in scratch. Jillian created a project that had the user figure out how to change variables within scratch. Jazzmine created a project that demonstrated a game that the user could make using variables within scratch. Next week we are planning on creating a project to teach if/else statements at these different levels. In two weeks we are going to be working with a group at Simmons called Strong Women Strong Girls. We�re not sure what our plan is yet but we will be using some of the projects we created in scratch.

Week 9

This week we presented our If/else projects to one another. My project focused on explaining conditionals. The projects that Jillianna and Jazzmine created were more focused on the user using if/else statements in Scratch. We started preparing for our presentation with Strong Women Strong Girls (SWSG) on Saturday. We will be using the first set of projects we created about variables as well as creating a PowerPoint explaining a little bit about studying computer science at our college. We are excited about this opportunity to show our curriculum to students who fit our targeted demographic.

Week 10

Today we debriefed on what we worked on over the weekend with the students from SWSG. We were excited when we found out that some of the students had already used Scratch before. We also learned a little bit about classroom management and what to expect when we are conducting our project next semester. Overall, I thought that it went really well. The students were engaged and some were creating their own projects at the very end. As of now for our project we are still figuring out where our audience will be coming from. There are a few groups on campus that work with late elementary to middle school aged girl and we will continue to reach out to them.

Week 11

We did not meet in person this week but have been communicating via email. We are getting into contact with the orgs that work with students at Simmons. We will be working on blog entries and making sure that we are up to date. At our next meeting, we will be talking about meeting times for next semester as well as our poster submission for Tapia.

Week 12

Today we discussed a new time for our weekly meetings. We are two weeks away from winter break and discussed some things we are looking to complete before going home. We are planning to work on our Tapia proposal over the next month. We also have a few professors to contact about the IRB process at our college. Next week we will be discussing final plans before break and what we should each be working on for us to be on track with our project next semester.

Week 13

During break we communicated with one another about Tapia proposal where Jazzmine will be presenting next year. We divided the work of this proposal up between the three of us. I had the section talking about the goals of our project and talked about research that supported video games as a form of instruction. We will be submitting this after break.

Week 14

This week we met and looked over our tapia proposal. We all looked at our individual sections and helped proofread ones anothers. Another assignment of mine was to begin looking at IRB materials. I started to gather what we would need to submit IRB approval. We also have continued looking for new organizations to potentially work with.

Week 15

I divided up the work that needed to be done for the IRB among each other. It 's only my second time working on an IRB before and this process is a little bit different because we will be working with children. Jazzmine was assigned the pre/post survey. Jillie was assigned the satisfaction survey. I am in charge of the IRB forms as well as preparing the consent forms.

Week 16

We are still working on IRB proposal. Jazzmine has become our primary contact for a new organization that we might work with! This week we are also working on our IRB assignments individually.

Week 17

We are planning to submit our IRB ASAP. We are still waiting to hear back for some information from the org that we may be working with. This week, I will make edits to the proposal as well as figure out what scratch projects I should be working on.

Week 18

Our IRB has officially been submitted. Jazzmine has been working on securing a test group still. She has been our main point of contact in between organizations. We have created a list of topics we want to cover in our curriculumn and I will be following that as I work on my next scratch project. We've been talking about what Jazzmine will potentially be working on to this summer as well.

Week 19

Next week is spring break and we will be unable to meet. Because of this we decided to talk a little bit about timelines and what we will be responsible for as we prepare to finish our project this semester. Good news is that we have gotten our IRB approved! We have began discussing other groups that we can demo our projects with in order to get more feedback about them. When we return from spring break we will be focusing on piloting and also preparing for the Simmons Undergraduate symposium where we will be presenting what we have worked on this year. From the syllabus we created I will be working on For Loops. I plan on having a scratch project to present by the time we return. This project will be a beginner level of this topic and will be more about explaining For Loops and an example of one. My sister is at the age range of students we are looking at and I am hoping that she can provide me some feedback as well.

Week 20

This week my focus is the scratch projects. I have created one for Booleans as an introduction. It has been interesting working with scratch syntax and figuring out how to execute certain programming functions using their blocks. My sister did take a look at some of what we did and provided some insight as to what other students her age may think about what we have done. I am working on ways to explain concepts in a more concise manner to maintain interest.

Week 21

We are continuing to work on finding a test group of students. Today we all worked on abstract together to be able to submit to the undergraduate conference. This abstract will also be used to be able to tell others about what our project is and if they are interested in participating.

Week 22

We submitted to the Undergraduate Symposium and hope to hear back soon! This weeks focus now that we have an IRB for college students and hs/middle school students is to get participants for our project.

Week 23

This week I am focused on making sure that my games have clear instructions. After having a few people informally look through them, we have gotten great feedback on what we can improve. We also went through our pre/posttest and have found ways to improve that section as well. We wanted to make sure that the questions aligned with what we were going though in our scratch projects.

Week 24

Jazzmine created a doodle for us to list when we are available to collect data. We received an email about our presentation for Symposium. I am excited to do this as a presentation as I think demoing what we done is this past year is best. I have added a few pieces of code to accompany my games on our website. I chose pieces I thought would best fit to explain the concept we were going through. I am eager to work with others and getting feedback on what we have done so far.

Week 25

I am currently back home this week to attend an event. I will be unable to work on collecting participant data but will focus on beginning the presentation for the symposium next week as well as blogs.

Week 26

This week we presented at a panel during the Undergraduate Symposium. I was in charge of the background portion, explaining scratch, as well as explaining the introductory level of our programs. At the end of our presentation a professor was excited to introduce us to a group that we may be able to work with in the future.

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