It's Challenging but Doable: Lessons Learned from a Remote Collaborative Coding Camp for Elementary Students

The COVID-19 pandemic shifted many U.S. schools from in-person to remote instruction. While collaborative CS activities had become increasingly common in classrooms prior to the pandemic, the sudden shift to remote learning presented challenges for both teachers and students in implementing and supporting collaborative learning. Though some research on remote collaborative CS learning has been conducted with adult learners, less has been done with younger learners such as elementary school students. This experience report describes lessons learned from a remote after-school camp with 24 elementary school students who participated in a series of individual and paired learning activities over three weeks. We describe the design of the learning activities, participant recruitment, group formation, and data collection process. We also provide practical implications for implementation such as how to guide facilitators, pair students, and calibrate task difficulty to foster collaboration. This experience report contributes to the understanding of remote CS learning practices, particularly for elementary school students, and we hope it will provoke methodological advancement in this important area.

Ma, Y., Ruiz, J. M., Brown, T., Diaz, K. A., Gaweda, A. M., Celepkolu, M., Boyer, K. E., Lynch, C., Wiebe, E. (2022). It's challenging but doable: Lessons learned from a remote collaborative coding camp for elementary students. In Proceedings of the 53rd ACM Technical Symposium on Computer Science Education (pp. 342-348).