Author ORCID Identifier

Date of Award

Spring 1-31-2020

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Learning Technologies Division

First Advisor

Brendan Calandra

Second Advisor

Jonathan Cohen

Third Advisor

Maggie Renken

Fourth Advisor

George Pullman


Recent studies have advocated for early adoption of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) in order to help a broader range of youth become creators rather than consumers of digital media, to open doors for opportunity in the lucrative technology sector, and to set them on a course for lifelong STEM/ICT learning. This study used data that was collected from a grant funded, multi-site, after-school program designed to help a group of students who are often underrepresented in ICT learn about computing through a unique instructional design for guiding students through the creation of mobile apps using a freely accessible block-based coding platform developed by MIT called App Inventor. The study employed a concurrent, triangulation mixed methods approach to data analysis. Data sources included participant-observer field notes, interviews, student artifacts, online surveys, and an assessment of outcomes related to a construct called computational thinking. The purpose of the intervention and this proposed study was to examine whether participants in the program learned coding and related concepts, developed an interest in STEM/ICT subject matter, and gained an optimistic view of their abilities related to 21st century computing skills. In addition, the researcher hoped to identify which aspects of the instructional design may have facilitated progress towards these goals.


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