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We introduce the Mobile Application Development Investigators (MAD Investigators) curriculum, which utilizes participatory sensing as a central theme to increase middle school students’ engagement and interest in science and technology. Participatory sensing involves the general public in collecting and sharing information about the surrounding environment through the use of sensing (e.g., camera, GPS, accelerometer) and input capabilities on handheld mobile devices, such as smartphones. We present the results of a pilot offering of the MAD Investigators curriculum as part of a 10-week after-school program for middle school children. Our results indicate the potential for participatory sensing as a tool for increasing engagement in technology; after participating in the MAD Investigators program, students viewed technology more favorably, indicated increased enjoyment of technology, and indicated increased interest in pursuing education and careers in science and computing.

Team Lead: 
Carla Bendezu