Collaboration is a beneficial skill for students to have and has been shown to improve learning. Although collaboration in educational settings have been well researched, there is still little research on how elementary students in computer science collaborate. Our goal is to answer the question: "How can we support upper elementary-school students in computer science learning and collaboration using intelligent virtual learning companions?"

The FLECKS project (NSF: DRL-1721160) will address this question in three thrusts. The first thrust involves the collection of a large dataset of collaborative learning in upper elementary computer science classes. In the second thrust the virtual learning companions will be designed, developed, and iteratively refined to support good collaborative practices. Finally, the data collection from the first and second thrusts will result in findings about how children collaborate in computer science and how to best support them in their learning endeavors using virtual learning companions. This project has the potential to change the way students learn computer science and collaboration and may help teachers better support their students.