Knowledge about Machine Learning is becoming essential, yet it remains a restricted privilege that may not be available to students from a low socio-economic status background. Thus, in order to provide equal opportunities, we taught ML concepts and applications to 158 middle and high school students from a low socio-economic background in Brazil. Results show that these students can understand how ML works and execute the main steps of a human-centered process for developing an image classification model. No substantial differences regarding class periods, educational stage, and sex assigned at birth were observed. The course was perceived as fun and motivating, especially to girls. Despite the limitations in this context, the results show that they can be overcome. Mitigating solutions involve partnerships between social institutions and university, an adapted pedagogical approach as well as increased on-by-one assistance. These findings can be used to guide course designs for teaching ML in the context of underprivileged students from a low socio-economic status background and thus contribute to the inclusion of these students.
The insertion of Machine Learning (ML) in everyday life demonstrates the importance of popularizing an understanding of ML already in school. Accompanying this trend arises the need to assess the students’ learning. Yet, so far, few assessments have been proposed, most lacking an evaluation. Therefore, we evaluate the reliability and validity of an automated assessment of the students’ learning of an image classification model created as a learning outcome of the “ML for All!” course. Results based on data collected from 240 students indicate that the assessment can be considered reliable (coefficient Omega = 0.834/Cronbach's alpha α=0.83). We also identified moderate to strong convergent and discriminant validity based on the polychoric correlation matrix. Factor analyses indicate two underlying factors “Data Management and Model Training” and “Performance Interpretation”, completing each other. These results can guide the improvement of assessments, as well as the decision on the application of this model in order to support ML education as part of a comprehensive assessment.
Machine Learning (ML) is becoming increasingly present in our lives. Thus, it is important to introduce ML already in High School, enabling young people to become conscious users and creators of intelligent solutions. Yet, as typically ML is taught only in higher education, there is still a lack of knowledge on how to properly teach younger students. Therefore, in this systematic literature review, we analyze findings on teaching ML in High School with regard to content, pedagogical strategy, and technology. Results show that High School students were able to understand and apply basic ML concepts, algorithms and tasks. Pedagogical strategies focusing on active problem/project-based hands-on approaches were successful in engaging students and demonstrated positive learning effects. Visual as well as text-based programming environments supported students to build ML models in an effective way. Yet, the review also identified the need for more rigorous evaluations on how to teach ML.
Information technology (IT) is transforming the world. Therefore, exposing students to computing at an early age is important. And, although computing is being introduced into schools, students from a low socio-economic status background still do not have such an opportunity. Furthermore, existing computing programs may need to be adjusted in accordance to the specific characteristics of these students in order to help them to achieve the learning goals. Aiming at bringing computing education to all middle and high-school students, we performed a systematic literature review, in order to analyze the content, pedagogy, technology, as well as the main findings of instructional units that teach computing in this context. First results show that these students are able to learn computing, including concepts ranging from algorithms and programming languages to artificial intelligence. Difficulties are mainly linked to the lack of infrastructure and the lack of pre-existing knowledge in using IT as well as creating computing artifacts. Solutions include centralized teaching in assistive centers as well as a stronger emphasis on unplugged strategies. However, there seems to be a lack of more research on teaching computing to students from a low socio-economic status background, unlocking their potential as well to foster their participation in an increasing IT market.
Although Machine Learning (ML) is used already in our daily lives, few are familiar with the technology. This poses new challenges for students to understand ML, its potential, and limitations as well as to empower them to become creators of intelligent solutions. To effectively guide the learning of ML, this article proposes a scoring rubric for the performance-based assessment of the learning of concepts and practices regarding image classification with artificial neural networks in K-12. The assessment is based on the examination of student-created artifacts as a part of open-ended applications on the use stage of the Use-Modify-Create cycle. An initial evaluation of the scoring rubric through an expert panel demonstrates its internal consistency as well as its correctness and relevance. Providing a first step for the assessment of concepts on image recognition, the results may support the progress of learning ML by providing feedback to students and teachers.
In today’s society, creativity plays a key role, emphasizing the importance of its development in K-12 education. Computing education may be an alternative for students to extend their creativity by solving problems and creating computational artifacts. Yet, there is little systematic evidence available to support this claim, also due to the lack of assessment models. This article presents SCORE, a model for the assessment of creativity in the context of computing education in K-12. Based on a mapping study, the model and a self-assessment questionnaire are systematically developed. The evaluation, based on 76 responses from K-12 students, indicates a high internal reliability (Cronbach’s alpha = 0.961) and confirmed the validity of the instrument suggesting only the exclusion of 3 items that do not seem to be measuring the concept. As such, the model represents a first step aiming at the systematic improvement of teaching creativity as part of computing education.
Although Machine Learning (ML) has already become part of our daily lives, few are familiar with this technology. Thus, in order to help students to understand ML, its potential, and limitations and to empower them to become creators of intelligent solutions, diverse courses for teaching ML in K-12 have emerged. Yet, a question less considered is how to assess the learning of ML. Therefore, we performed a systematic mapping identifying 27 instructional units, which also present a quantitative assessment of the students’ learning. The simplest assessments range from quizzes to performance-based assessments assessing the learning of basic ML concepts, approaches, and in some cases ethical issues and the impact of ML on lower cognitive levels. Feedback is mostly limited to the indication of the correctness of the answers and only a few assessments are automated. These results indicate a need for more rigorous and comprehensive research in this area.
Creativity has emerged as an important 21st-century competency. Although it is traditionally associated with arts and literature, it can also be developed as part of computing education. Therefore, this article -presents a systematic mapping of approaches for assessing creativity based on the analysis of computer programs created by the students. As result, only ten approaches reported in eleven articles have been encountered. These reveal the absence of a commonly accepted definition of product creativity customized to computer education, confirming only originality as one of the well-established characteristics. Several approaches seem to lack clearly defined criteria for effective, efficient and useful creativity assessment. Diverse techniques are used including rubrics, mathematical models and machine learning, supporting manual and automated approaches. Few performed a comprehensive evaluation of the proposed approach regarding their reliability and validity. These results can help instructors to choose and adopt assessment approaches and guide researchers by pointing out shortcomings.
Although Machine Learning (ML) is integrated today into various aspects of our lives, few understand the technology behind it. This presents new challenges to extend computing education early to ML concepts helping students to understand its potential and limits. Thus, in order to obtain an overview of the state of the art on teaching Machine Learning concepts in elementary to high school, we carried out a systematic mapping study. We identified 30 instructional units mostly focusing on ML basics and neural networks. Considering the complexity of ML concepts, several instructional units cover only the most accessible processes, such as data management or present model learning and testing on an abstract level black-boxing some of the underlying ML processes. Results demonstrate that teaching ML in school can increase understanding and interest in this knowledge area as well as contextualize ML concepts through their societal impact.
Teaching computational thinking in K-12 as a 21th century skill is becoming increasingly important. Computational thinking describes a specific way of reasoning building on concepts and processes derived from algorithms and programming. One way to teach these concepts is games as an effective and efficient alternative. This article presents SplashCode, a low-cost board game to reinforce basic algorithms and programming concepts. The game was developed in a systematic way following an instructional design process, and applied and evaluated in a Brazilian public school with a total of 65 students (grade 5 to 9). First results indicate that the game can have a positive impact on motivation, learning experience, and students' learning, as well as contribute positively to social interaction, relevance, and fun. Results of this study may assist in the selection of games as an instructional strategy and/or in the development of new games for teaching computational thinking.