This project focuses on computational thinking (CT) programming and assessment in libraries and other informal learning environments. The term computational thinking is meant to capture the concepts and practices associated with using computers and technology to solve problems. CT practices include problem decomposition, developing and using abstractions, debugging, defining algorithms, and concepts grounded in the practice of programming such as iteration, parallelization, and conditional logic.

Child building robot at robotic technology school lesson. Canva.com

Although effort has been made to add CT curriculum to the classroom, informal learning environments, like libraries, have become a place to support communities in teaching CT to youth. Our project fills a significant need in the CT in the library landscape by creating a suite of ready-to-use CT assessments for evaluating and refining the various efforts to integrate CT into library programming. Further, this project addresses an existing gap in the research on understanding why and how youth library programming contributes to CT literacy development and will advance research in CT literacy development through libraries, which is almost non-existent. 

This IMLS funded project has three main goals: 

  1. Identify the CT literacy that can be developed in youth through programs offered through public libraries
  2. Create assessment tools that can be used by library staff to accurately capture the CT literacy development
  3. Utilize these assessment tools to further improve and refine existing CT programs offered through public libraries (or create new ones)

If you would like more information, you can email us at impact@umd.edu