skip to main content

Title: Teaching practices for making e-textiles in high school computing classrooms.
Recent discussions have focused on rich STEM learning opportunities and various equity challenges in setting up and researching out-of-school makerspaces and activities. In turning to school classrooms, we want to understand the critical practices that teachers employ in broadening and deepening access to making. In this paper, we investigate two high school teachers’ approaches in implementing the Exploring Computer Science curriculum using a novel 8-week, electronic textiles unit where students designed wearable textile projects with a microcontroller, sensors and LED lights. Drawing on observations and interviews with teachers and students, we share emergent practices that teachers used in transforming their classrooms into a makerspace, including modeling in-progress artifacts, valuing expertise from students, and promoting connections in personalized work. We discuss in which ways these teaching practices succeeded in broadening access to making while deepening participation in computing and establishing home-school connections.
Award ID(s):
Publication Date:
Journal Name:
FabLearn’17, Proceedings of the 7th Annual Conference on Creativity and Fabrication in Education
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. Recent discussions of making have focused on developing out-of-school makerspaces and activities to provide more equitable and enriching learning opportunities for youth. Yet school classrooms present a unique opportunity to help broaden access, diversify representation, and deepen participation in making. In turning to classrooms, we want to understand the crucial practices that teachers employ in broadening and deepening access to making. In this article, we investigate two high school teachers’ approaches in implementing a novel eight-week, electronic textiles unit within the Exploring Computer Science curriculum, where students designed wearable electronic textile projects with microcontrollers, sensors, and LEDs.We share teachers’emergent practices in transforming their classrooms into makerspaces, including valuing student expertise and promoting connections in personalized work. We discuss the ways these practices succeeded in broadening access to making while deepening participation in computing and establishing home-school connections.
  2. In this BoF we discuss the tenets of culturally responsive computer science and how teachers, professors and providers of professional development can include culturally responsive perspectives in their classes. In contrast to other academic fields, which typically include rigid curricular tracks ostensibly based on academic performance, talent, or ability that pose structural barriers to access to rigorous academic instruction for underrepresented students, the field of computer science education is explicitly focused on broadening participation, as evidenced by the SIGCSE community's consistent emphasis on equitable representation. Culturally responsive computing (CRC) is founded on culturally responsive teaching (CRT) and on CRT's three tenets: asset building (in contrast to deficit approaches), reflection, and connectedness. CRC frames these tenets for the specifics of computing education. CRC's tenet that all students are capable of digital innovation should drive teachers' interactions and relationships with students. CRC also requires that teachers be continually reflective about their privilege and constraints and how those are connected with our worldviews. This topic is significant because teachers must be connected to their students in non-traditional ways that prize diversity as an asset to innovation. The participants are expected to include professors, lecturers, high school teachers and industry experts who are interestedmore »in employing culturally responsive computing approaches in their own teaching and professional development activities. A major goal of the BoF is to establish connections among the participants to promote the sharing of resources and best practices.« less
  3. Facility with foundational practices in computer science (CS) is increasingly recognized as critical for the 21st century workforce. Developing this capacity and broadening participation in CS disciplines will require learning experiences that can engage a larger and more diverse student population (Margolis et al., 2008). One promising approach involves including CS concepts and practices in required subjects like science. Yet, research on the scalability of educational innovations consistently demonstrates that their successful uptake in formal classrooms depends on teachers’ perceived alignment of the innovations with their goals and expectations for student learning, as well as with the specific needs of their school context and culture (Blumenfeld et al., 2000; Penuel et al., 2007; Bernstein et al., 2016). Research is nascent, however, about how exactly to achieve this alignment and thereby position integrated instructional models for uptake at scale. To contribute to this understanding, we are developing and studying two units for core middle school science classrooms, known as Coding Science Internships. The units are designed to support broader participation in CS, with a particular emphasis on females, by expanding students’ perception of the nature and value of coding. CS and science learning are integrated through a simulated internship model, inmore »which students, as interns, apply science knowledge and use computer programming as a tool to address real-world problems. In one unit, students gain first-hand experience with sequences, loops, and conditionals as they program and debug an interactive scientific model of a coral reef ecosystem under threat. The second unit engages students in learning concepts related to data analysis and visualization, abstraction, and modularity as they code data visualizations using real EPA air quality data. A core goal for both units is to provide students experience with some of the increasingly prevalent ways that computer science is integrated into the work of scientists.« less
  4. Economically disadvantaged youth residing in mountain tourist communities represent an important and understudied rural population. These communities typically include a large percentage of children that are English language learners. Our NSF STEM Career Connections project, A Model for Preparing Economically-Disadvantaged Rural Youth for the Future STEM Workplace, investigates strategies that help middle school youth in these communities to envision a broader range of workforce opportunities, especially in STEM and computing careers. This poster highlights the initial findings of an innovative model that involves working with local schools and community partners to support the integration of local career contexts, engineering phenomena, 3D printing technologies, career connections, and mentorship into formal educational experiences to motivate and prepare rural youth for future STEM careers. We focus on select classrooms at two middle schools and describe the implementation of a novel 3D printing curriculum during the 2020-2021 school-year. Two STEM teachers implemented the five-week curriculum with approximately 300 students per quarter. To create a rich inquiry-driven learning environment, the curriculum uses an instructional design approach called storylining. This approach is intended to promote coherence, relevance, and meaning from the students’ perspectives by using students’ questions to drive investigations and lessons. Students worked towards answeringmore »the question: “How can we support animals with physical disabilities so they can perform daily activities independently?” Students engaged in the engineering design process by defining, developing, and optimizing solutions to develop and print prosthetic limbs for animals with disabilities using 3D modeling, a unique augmented reality application, and 3D printing. In order to embed connections to STEM careers and career pathways, some students received mentorship and guidance from local STEM professionals who work in related fields. This poster will describe the curriculum and its implementation across two quarters at two middle schools in the US rural mountain west, as well as the impact on students’ interest in STEM and computing careers. During the first quarter students engaged in the 3D printing curriculum, but did not have access to the STEM career and career pathway connections mentorship piece. During the second quarter, the project established a partnership with a local STEM business -- a medical research institute that utilizes 3D printing and scanning for creating human surgical devices and procedures -- to provide mentorship to the students. Volunteers from this institute served as ongoing mentors for the students in each classroom during the second quarter. The STEM mentors guided students through the process of designing, testing, and optimizing their 3D models and 3D printed prosthetics, providing insights into how students’ learning directly applies to the medical industry. Different forms of student data such as cognitive interviews and pre/post STEM interest and spatial thinking surveys were collected and analyzed to understand the benefits of the career connections mentorship component. Preliminary findings suggest the relationship between local STEM businesses and students is important to motivate youth from rural areas to see themselves being successful in STEM careers and helping them to realize the benefits of engaging with emerging engineering technologies.« less
  5. TalkMoves is an innovative application designed to support K-12 mathematics teachers to reflect on, and continuously improve their instructional practices. This application combines state-of-the-art natural language processing capabilities with automated speech recognition to automatically analyze classroom recordings and provide teachers with personalized feedback on their use of specific types of discourse aimed at broadening and deepening classroom conversations about mathematics. These specific discourse strategies are referred to as “talk moves” within the mathematics education community and prior research has documented the ways in which systematic use of these discourse strategies can positively impact student engagement and learning. In this article, we describe the TalkMoves application’s cloud-based infrastructure for managing and processing classroom recordings, and its interface for providing teachers with feedback on their use of talk moves during individual teaching episodes. We present the series of model architectures we developed, and the studies we conducted, to develop our best-performing, transformer-based model (F1 = 79.3%). We also discuss several technical challenges that need to be addressed when working with real-world speech and language data from noisy K-12 classrooms.