Doctoral Student University of Maryland College Park, Maryland
Computational thinking (CT) is an essential 21st century skill that all youth need to develop in order to navigate and succeed in an increasingly computational work. While the presence of CT in schools is growing, libraries and informal spaces have an important role to play in ensuring that CT opportunities are available and accessible to all youth. Given the importance of CT and the essential role that libraries play as a community resource, it is not surprising to see a growing number of computational thinking-related tools, programs, and workshops being included in the services offered by libraries. It is now commonplace to find robotics kits, 3D printers, digital fabrication tools, and banks of computers, tablets, and laptops in libraries alongside books and periodicals. This growth in the presence of technologies associated with CT in libraries has happened quickly and takes different forms across different libraries. Driven by different visions, opportunities, community needs, and resources, there is relatively little systematicity in the ways that libraries have brought CT to their patrons. Based on interviews and focus groups with 59 library staff from across the United States, this presentation reports on the current state of CT activities and programming in public libraries. In particular, this presentation reports on what CT learning opportunities currently exist for youth in public libraries, what skills and practices these programs promote, as well as what CT outcomes are measured in libraries. The contribution of this work is to advance our understanding of the current state of CT in public libraries and how it relates to the larger CT landscape. This presentation will also illuminate the gaps in instruments that are needed to measure CT outcomes in libraries. We will share some of the instruments that we are currently developing based on what we are learning.
participants will be able to describe the computational thinking (CT) learning opportunities that currently exist for ages 11-18 in public libraries and map the skills and practices that opportunities promote.
Upon completion, participants will be able to articulate the specific learning outcomes related to CT that are present in library programming.
Upon completion, participants will be able to explain all the existing ways CT learning outcomes are currently measured in libraries.