Researchers from the PEL and LED Lab Presented at the 4-H Computer Science Pathway Training

In July 2017, Instructional Technology and Learning Sciences students attended the national 4-H Computer Science Pathway Training held at Thanksgiving Point in Lehi, Utah. They shared their expertise about and passion for computer science and programming with the community and 4-H youth and faculty from 10 different states.

PEL

Researchers from the Playful Exploration Lab, led by Dr. Jody Clarke Midura, held a workshop on App Inventor, a web-based program which teaches students to create smartphone apps. App Inventor is a gateway into learning computer programming. Research assistants Megan Hamilton, Katarina Pantic and Lauren Wood showed how students could use App Inventor in 4-H.

The participants particularly liked seeing Athena Balderas, a teen camp mentor. According to Dave Francis, Extension Associate Professor and a 4-H Youth Development Specialist, "They appreciated seeing a teen camp mentor at the App Inventor workshop. This workshop was especially beneficial as participants made the connection that app inventor allows 4-H to connect 4-H projects in any topic."

Megan Hamilton and Katarina Pantic presenting at the training

PEL research assistants on their way to the event

LED Lab

Two research assistants from the LED Lab, directed by Dr. Breanne Litts, also led an ARIS workshop at this event. ARIS stands for Augmented Reality and Interactive Storytelling and is a platform to make augmented reality games and narratives (think Pokemon Go).

Stephanie Benson, a recent ITLS graduate, and Chase Mortensen, an undergraduate Computer Science major, guided participants through a hands-on tutorial workshop of how to use the ARIS. This platform gives non-programmers a way to create, but it also gives programmers free reign to add HTML and JavaScript and even hack the open source code. There was lots of excitement about this tool and, according to Dave Francis. Francis also mentioned two groups "have made specific plans to utilize ARIS at the State Fair and a Teen Conference.


Chase Mortensen at the computer in front of the trainees

Stephanie Benson training at the event

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