Remixing as a pathway to computational thinking

Sayamindu Dasgupta, William Hale, Andrés Monroy-Hernández, Benjamin Mako Hill


Theorists and advocates of “remixing” have suggested that appropriation can act as a pathway for learning. We test this theory quantitatively using data from more than 2.4 million multimedia programming projects shared by more than 1 million users in the Scratch online community. First, we show that users who remix more often have larger repertoires of programming commands even after controlling for the numbers of projects and amount of code shared. Second, we show that exposure to computational thinking concepts through remixing is associated with increased likelihood of using those concepts. Our results support theories that young people learn through remixing, and have important implications for designers of social computing systems.

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