The central aim of the CRRAFT partnership is to bring about an actionable theory of change for fostering computational thinking and a sense of belonging in computer science through a culturally relevant robotics program. The program is being co-developed in close partnership with university teacher educators and researchers, administrators, teachers, instructional coaches, and Black and Latinx children and their families. Our research practice partnership seeks to study: (1) the iterative co-development and refinement of a classroom- and home-based culturally relevant robotics program (CRR program) for Black and Latinx preschoolers and (2) the impact of the CRR program on children’s computational thinking and sense of belonging in computer science. We combine design-based research that situates the design and testing of curricular interventions in real educational contexts with community-based participatory research that ensures the voices of community members, particularly those from underrepresented populations, are heard. This project capitalizes and expands upon on an existing partnership, which has sought to increase opportunities for culturally relevant STEM education at two schools – a preschool with 163 children (90% Black) and a primary school (PreK-1) with 221 students (63% Black; 24% Latinx) since 2019.


Caudle, L., Harper, F. K., Quinn, M., & *Greene, D. (2021). Co-constructing and sharing STEAM knowledge through a culturally relevant literacy-based early childhood school-university partnership. In The Organizing Committee of the 2ndInternational Conference of the Journal Scuola Democratica (Ed.) Proceedings of the Second International Conference of Scuola Democratica Reinventing Education: Learning with new technologies, equality, and inclusion. (Vol II, pp. 667-678).Associazione “Per Scuola Democratica.”

Harper, F. K., Stumbo, Z., & Kim, N. (2021). When robots invade the neighborhood: Learning to Teach PK-5 mathematics leveraging both technology and community knowledge. Contemporary Issues in Technology and Teacher Education. 21(1). (Research from preliminary partnership)


Larsen, J., Quinn, M. F., & Flowers, C. F. (2023, March). Investigating a holistic approach for measuring computational thinking in early childhood. Poster paper presented at the biannual meeting of the Society for Research in Child Development, Salt Lake City, UT. (Abstract refereed).

Harper, F. K., Rainwater, T., Zelaya, F. (2022, February). Including parents as critical members of school-university-community partnerships. Discussion session presented at the annual conference of Association of Mathematics Teacher Educators, New Orleans, LA. (Abstract refereed)

Quinn, M.F., Thompson, H. R., Caudle, L. A., & Harper, F. K. (2022, December). Read alouds, writing, and robots: Exploring preschool teachers’ support for computational thinking and literacy. In W. I. O’Byrne (chair) Computational thinking and literacy: Understanding teachers’ approaches to leveraging CT and literacy across grade levels. Symposium presented at the annual meeting of the Literacy Research Association, Phoenix, AZ.

Caudle, L. A., Quinn, M. F., Greene, D. & Settlemeyer, P. (2022, November). Robots are everywhere!: Leveraging familiar classroom contexts and practices to build computational thinking in young children. Session presented at the annual meeting of the National Association of the Education of Young Children, Washington, D.C.

Flowers, C.E., and The CRRAFT Partnership. (2022, November). Promoting equity in urban early childhood classrooms through teacher integration and culturally relevant robotics program. Paper presented at the International Conference of Urban Education Conference, Cancun, Mexico.

Hickey, R., Harper, F. K. & The CRRAFT Partnership. (2022, November). Preschool Coding. Workshop presented at the Early Childhood STEM Lab. Online.

Harper, F.K., Caudle, L., Quinn, M., Rainwater, T., Larsen, J., Greene, D., Flowers, C. E., Sadovnik, A., and The CRRAFT Partnership. (2022, April). Culturally relevant computing for young children: A conceptual analysis. Paper presented at the American Educational Research Association Annual Conference, San Diego, CA. 

Larsen, J.A., Thompson, H., Quinn, M.F., and the CRRAFT Partnership. (2022, April). Early childhood robotics: Supporting children’s computational thinking and sense of belonging in computer science. Special topics session presented at the 2022 Regional meeting for the Northeast Tennessee STEM Innovation Hub. Johnson City, TN.

Grafton, J., Langston, M., Settlemeyer, P., Welch, T., Wooten, K., Zelaya, F., Greene, D., Flowers, C. E., Rainwater, T., Larsen, J., Quinn, M. F., Caudle, L. A., Harper, F. K., and the CRRAFT Partnership. (2022, January). Reflections on the co-development and initial implementation of a preschool robotics program: Listening to teacher and caregiver voices. Research presentation at the annual Southeastern STEM Education Research Conference, Murfreesboro, TN. 

Caudle, L., Harper, F. K., Quinn, M. (2021, June). Co-constructing and sharing STEAM knowledge through a culturally relevant literacy-based early childhood school-university partnership experience. Research report presented at the Second International Conference of Scuola Democratica “Reinventing Education”, online.