Complexity in Facilitation of Public Computing

dc.contributor.advisorSengupta, Pratim
dc.contributor.authorHladik, Stephanie Kay
dc.contributor.committeememberShanahan, Marie-Claire
dc.contributor.committeememberKim, Beaumie
dc.description.abstractMuseums and other informal learning spaces have been found to be sites of playful and transformative engagement with computing, especially for learners who have been historically marginalized in the discipline. However, as educational researchers and designers create new programs and exhibits for computing in museum spaces, the roles, experiences, and labour of museum educators – those who facilitate the exhibit, answer questions, and scaffold learning – have often been ignored, with the focus instead falling mainly on the hardware and software used within the learning environment. In this manuscript-based dissertation, I bring to light the complexity of museum educators’ experiences and practices in the context of a computational science exhibit in a Canadian science centre. Firstly, I review the literature on museum educators in science museums, pointing out their high importance yet low status in their institutions, comparisons of their practice with school science teaching, a growing call for professionalization in the field, and their positioning and participation in educational research projects – often as sources of data rather than co-designers of educational innovations they are expected to enliven on a daily basis. Next, I investigate the infrastructuring done by museum facilitators as they work to support the success and sustainability of a computational science exhibit, highlighting the ways in which this hidden labour is intertwined with their personal, professional, and community practices. Finally, I zoom out to reflect on the chronological shifts in the research project as a whole, from one that is device-centered to a more praxis-centred approach through four phases: an early device-centered framing of “redesign,” recognizing infrastructuring and developing relationships with facilitators, understanding improvisational infrastructuring as hidden design work, and, finally, making space for facilitators as co-designers. Across these papers, this dissertation highlights the ways in which methodology, epistemology, and axiology are intertwined in design-based research in informal settings. Shifting away from a device- centered approach led to listening carefully to museum facilitators, acknowledging and valuing their labour, and attending to power dynamics, which is essential for centering praxis in design- based research. I conclude with implications for future design-based research in computing education that are vital to equitable imagined futures.en_US
dc.identifier.citationHladik, S.K. (2021). Complexity in Facilitation of Public Computing (Master's thesis, University of Calgary, Calgary, Canada). Retrieved from
dc.publisher.facultyWerklund School of Educationen_US
dc.publisher.institutionUniversity of Calgaryen
dc.rightsUniversity of Calgary graduate students retain copyright ownership and moral rights for their thesis. You may use this material in any way that is permitted by the Copyright Act or through licensing that has been assigned to the document. For uses that are not allowable under copyright legislation or licensing, you are required to seek permission.en_US
dc.subjectinformal educationen_US
dc.subjectSTEM educationen_US
dc.subjectcomputing educationen_US
dc.titleComplexity in Facilitation of Public Computingen_US
dc.typedoctoral thesisen_US Graduate Program – Educational Researchen_US of Calgaryen_US of Philosophy (PhD)en_US
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