Diana Franklin is an Associate Professor in Computer Science at the University of Chicago. When she received her Ph.D. at UC Davis, 2002, her research focus was computer architecture, especially new technologies. She has done research in intelligent memories, memristors, and quantum computers. In 2008, she began her transition to computer science education research. She now leads the CANON (Computing for ANyONe) Lab, specializing in both 3rd-8th grade computer science interventions and quantum computing education for novices of any age with a particular focus towards moving towards more equitable learning experiences. She is currently the co-lead of the Q-12 Partnership, a new initiative by the Office of Science and Technology Programs, the National Science Foundation, industry, and professional organizations to bootstrap K-12 quantum information science education. In addition, she serves on the CRA Board and is the author of "A Practical Guide to Gender Diversity for CS Faculty," from Morgan Claypool.


I am interested in how students learn computer science concepts, especially at the elementary school level. In particular, I explore how to create curriculum and development environments that can reach a broad spectrum of learners, including underrepresented ethnic and gender minorities and students struggling academically. My research is housed in the CANON (Computing for ANyONe) Research Lab. I am leading five projects, spanning learners from pre-K through college.

active projects

  • Scratch Encore explores how to create intermediate Scratch curriculum when equity is a level-1 design constraint, equal to learning outcomes. Our curriculum is being released in waves as it is being piloted in 2018-19, with a broad roll-out in summer 2019.
  • EPIQC, an NSF Expeditions in Computing, bridges the gap between algorithms that assume perfect hardware and near-term small, noisy hardware by exposing specific details to algorithms developers, providing compiler optimizations, and developing architectural innovations. I lead the quantum computing education and outreach for this project. In particular, we are creating and curating resources to teach a broad audience about quantum computing principles. We currently have two efforts. First, tutorials for graduate students and professionals. Second, for audiences with less technical backgrounds, we are posting curated existing on-line resources, creating zines that begin appropriate for a non-technical audience, gradually focusing to information necessary for a computer science undergraduate to be able to contribute to a research group, and creating activities for young audiences. This year, we are working on science / CT / quantum curriculum at middle school and high school levels, and undergraduate and graduate instructional materials.
  • Learning Trajectories for Everyday Computing is a multi-institution (UChicago, UF, UIC) research effort exploring integration of computational thinking and mathematics in elementary school. After creating learning trajectories for Sequence, Repetition, Conditionals, and Decomposition, and Debugging. We collaboratively designed Action Fractions, a sequence of integrated Fractions + CT activities for 3rd and 4th grades.
  • Comprehending Code focuses on learning strategies that students, especially students with disabilities, English language learners, and those struggling academically for any other reason. We have developed TIPP&SEE, a learning strategy that teaches students how to learn by example within Scratch projects. In addition, we have developed resources for Robot Turtles to make it more accessible to students in a classroom setting and to connect it more closely to Scratch programming. Finally, we have developed a Scratch Charades games that has students act out Scratch scripts before encountering the complicated programming interface.

artifacts produced

  • Scratch Act 1 - Introductory Scratch programming. Four modules consisting of 10 hours of instruction. Uses same pedagogical approach as Scratch Encore, with content from SFUSD's Green Workbook, itself a reorganization and revision of Harvard's Creative Computing Curriculum.
  • Scratch Encore - Intermediate Scratch programming. Modules 1-13 now released, and there are now three strands that teachers can choose from for modules 1-6.
  • CT Reading List for preK-2nd grade.
  • Robot Turtles boards to make the Robot Turtles preK-1st grade board game more amenable to classroom use.
  • Action Fractions - Integrated fractions + CT activities for 3rd and 4th grade.

older projects

DEPICT Investigating how students learn elementary CT concepts through visual block-based languages (like Scratch) in upper-elementary school. This project resulted in 15 publications, a two-year curriculum, and a development environment that was more configurable than Scratch. The lessons learned in this program have now been applied to all of my current projects, and many of the projects live on in modified forms in the Scratch Encore curriculum.

Animal Tlatoque Investigating how to broaden participation in computing through a multi-disciplinary summer camp. Over three summers, ran camp for middle school students that combined meso-american culture, endangered species, art, storytelling, and computer science.