Research on Computational Thinking & the Game Zoombinis (2017)


Computational Thinking, the set of ideas and practices considered vital for computer science skills, has been attracting increased attention over the past several years in K-12 education. Zoombinis, an award-winning adventure game, engages players in guiding little blue Zoombinis on a “fun but perilous” journey featuring 12 puzzles, each with 4 levels of difficulty, designed around logic and computational thinking. Our research involves educational data mining techniques to assess students’ learning in conjunction with pre-post computational thinking assessments (external to the game), teacher interviews, classroom observations, and case studies of classroom use. The goal is to understand both students’ learning of computational thinking and how to bridge the formal and informal learning via classroom implementation of the Zoombinis game. Learn more about Zoombinis.

NSF Award: 1502882


This discussion took place during the TERC Video Showcase Event Nov. 14-21, 2023. Discussion is now closed.
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Jodi Asbell-Clarke
Jodi Asbell-Clarke
November 13, 2023 3:09 pm
thanks for your interest in Zoombinis. Please comment on our more recent video’s post
Karen Mutch-Jones
Karen Mutch-Jones
November 14, 2023 6:18 pm
Thank you for sharing the ways in which you’ve enhanced the Zoombinis experience for players, over time, and for providing rich computational thinking experiences for students–which you explain well in the video. Your work on CT assessment design will be valuable to many researchers/educators, who are eager to move beyond static, and sometimes, definition oriented CT measures which are less meaningful. It was interesting to learn more about data mining, within the context of Zoombinis, and how game-based models can provide rich opportunities, not only for players, but also for research. It is exciting to think about the potential and positive influence this work might have on STEM assessments and our understanding of implicit learning through games! You mention that the teacher continues to be critically important–I’d love to hear more about how you help to engage teachers in your current studies. Thank you.