Sparking self-sustained learning: report on a design experiment to build technological fluency and bridge divides

  • Brigid Barron
  • Caitlin Kennedy Martin
  • Eric Roberts
Original Paper


In this article we report assessment results from two studies in an ongoing design experiment intended to provide a single school system with a sequence of secondary school level (ages 14–18) computer technology courses. In our first study, we share data on students’ learning as a function of the required introductory course and their pre-course history of technological experience. In order to go beyond traditional assessments of learning we assessed two aspects of students’ “learning ecologies”: their use of a variety of learning resources and the extent to which they share their knowledge about technology with others. In our second study we present patterns of course taking by male and female students who have almost completed their secondary schooling. In addition, we share case studies of students who elected to take more technology classes and leveraged their course experiences for internships, further education, and jobs. The quantitative and qualitative data are consistent with our hypothesis that students would become more technologically fluent and that their learning ecologies would diversify as a result of their project-based experiences.


Equity Design experiment Learning resources technological fluency Professional development Computer science 


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This project was developed with funds from the International Collaborative Education Foundation (ICEF). Support for idea development also came from the National Science Foundation (NSF REC 0354453, NSF REC - 0238524), Any opinions, findings and conclusions expressed in the paper are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the sponsoring agencies. We would like also to thank all of the teachers and students in Bermuda and members of the Stanford team including Robert Baesman, Shireen Brathwaite, Caroline Clabaugh, Nick Fang, Tom Fountain, Maria Fredricsson, Anita Garimella, Osvaldo Jimenez, Emma Lozman, Marissa Mayer, Jennifer McGrath, Emma Mercier, Alex Osipovich, Kristen Pilner, Michael Ross, Tenecia Sicard, Andrew Simons, Luke Swartz, and Shane Witnov.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Brigid Barron
    • 1
  • Caitlin Kennedy Martin
    • 2
  • Eric Roberts
    • 2
  1. 1.School of EducationStanford UniversityStanfordUSA
  2. 2.Department of Computer ScienceStanford UniversityStanfordUSA

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