Learning as Intrepid Exploration: A New Model for Teaching Children to Work with Computers

J. Denner and S. Bean (USA)


intrepid exploration, model of learning, middle school, girls.


This paper describes a new model of learning with computers, called Intrepid Exploration. It combines higher order thinking with the social and motivational factors that play a role in learning. An intrepid explorer is someone who is not afraid to try new things and to tackle problems they have not solved before. Key constituent characteristics of intrepid explorers include computer fluency, self-efficacy, effective problem solving, curiosity, and creativity. The model was derived from a cycle of program development, implementation, and inductive, empirical, and theory-based analysis of an original after school and summer computer program for middle school girls. Building on research from six implementations of the program, we describe five strategies that educators can use in both formal and informal learning settings to promote intrepid exploration on the computer. We also present data from a quasi experimental evaluation of the Girls Creating Games program. Qualitative and quantitative data suggest that the five strategies we are presenting have been effective for promoting intrepid exploration on the computer.

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