Purdue faculty receive $2.5 million NSF grant for STEM project

A National Science Foundation grant will fund Purdue University research into computational thinking by children.

The NSF awarded a $2.5 million grant to principal investigator Alka Harriger, a professor of computer and information technology, for the project, "Curriculum and Assessment Design to Study the Development of Motivation and Computational Thinking for Middle School Students across Three Learning Contexts."

The project will build upon on the work Alka and Brad Harriger, a professor in the School of Engineering Technology, started with the Teaching Engineering Concepts to Harness Future Innovators and Technologists project. That work also was funded by an NSF grant.

In the new project, Alka Harriger said, the TECHFIT work done in an after-school class will be expanded, creating an elective class for the students as well as inserting computational thinking modules into the existing middle school courses for students. TECHFIT partners Mike and Susan Flynn, former Purdue professors who now teach at the College of Charleston, will provide consulting expertise.

Alka Harriger said the new project will study the impact of the three overall delivery methods on students' career interests in computing and their understanding of computational thinking. The final goal will be to determine if the three contexts influence teacher delivery and student experiences as well as the ultimate development in computational thinking with the students.

Read the full news release from the Purdue News Service.

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