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EarSketch: Engaging Broad Populations in Computing Through Music


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EarSketch, illustration

Credit: Garry Killian

"Like, I thought coding was going to be boring and kind of just make me super-mad. It was going to be like tragic. But now that I've taken this class and I've seen all the things I can do with EarSketch and how that can be applied—like the same general concepts can be applied and expanded on to all these other aspects and different fields—it kind of opened up and made me kind of rethink my career choices like, 'Oh, maybe I actually want to pursue something in like IT or computer science.' Normally, you have like a one-sided opinion or view of coding. You don't really see it as being something creative and so personable. ... It just kind of opened up your world, like broadened your horizons in seeing all the career fields that actually use coding and how that plays a role in it, versus like this stereotypical view of what coding is."

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This is a reflection from a high school student in an introductory computer science course. During a focus group, he discussed his changing perceptions of and interest in coding. This student's shift in perceptions about computing and its level of engagement, potential for creativity, and career relevance exemplifies the critical importance of students' early academic experiences with computing. In other words, an engaging and expressive introductory computing course can significantly impact students' intention to persist in the field.


 

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