- Award ID(s):
- NSF-PAR ID:
- Date Published:
- Journal Name:
- Journal of technology and teacher education
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- Medium: X
- Sponsoring Org:
- National Science Foundation
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Incorporating computational thinking (CT) ideas into core subjects, such as mathematics and science, is one way of bringing early computer science (CS) education into elementary school. Minimal research has explored how teachers can translate their knowledge of CT into practice to create opportunities for their students to engage in CT during their math and science lessons. Such information can support the creation of quality professional development experiences for teachers. We analyzed how eight elementary teachers created opportunities for their students to engage in four CT practices (abstraction, decomposition, debugging, and patterns) during unplugged mathematics and science activities. We identified three strategies used by these teachers to create CT opportunities for their students: framing, prompting, and inviting reflection. Further, we grouped teachers into four profiles of implementation according to how they used these three strategies. We call the four profiles (1) presenting CT as general problem-solving strategies, (2) using CT to structure lessons, (3) highlighting CT through prompting, and (4) using CT to guide teacher planning. We discuss the implications of these results for professional development and student experiences.more » « less
In this brief paper, we will share preliminary results of a study of how elementary-school teachers take up computational thinking (CT) ideas and incorporate them into their mathematics and science teaching. We describe the teachers’ school contexts, the professional development experiences in which they engaged, and our preliminary analyses of how they used computational thinking within their enacted lessons. In brief, the seven teachers in this study exhibited three patterns of implementation: (1) using computational thinking to guide their own planning and thinking; (2) using computational thinking to structure their lessons; and (3) presenting computational thinking concepts to students as general problem solving strategies.more » « less
Hartshorne, Richard (Ed.)Data science and computational thinking (CT) skills are important STEM literacies necessary to make informed daily decisions. In elementary schools, particularly in rural areas, there is little instruction and limited research towards understanding and developing these literacies. Using a Research-Practice Partnership model (RPP; Coburn & Penuel, 2016) we conducted multimethod research investigating nine elementary teachers’ perceptions of data science and related curriculum design during professional development (PD). Connected Learning theory, enhanced with Universal Design for Learning, guided ways we assisted teachers in designing the data science curriculum. Findings suggest teachers maintained high levels of interest in data science instruction and CT before and after the PD and increased their self-efficacy towards teaching data science. A thematic analysis revealed how a data science framework guided curriculum design and assisted teachers in defining, understanding, and co-creating the curriculum. During curriculum design, teachers shared the workload among partners, made collaborative design choices, integrated differentiation strategies, and felt confidence towards teaching data science. Identified challenges included locating data sets and the complexity of understanding data science and related software. This study addresses the research gap in data science education for elementary teachers and assists with successful strategies for data science PD and curricular design.more » « less
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Most of the participants in the study developed science units in which an engineering design activity was placed at the end of the unit. Approximately half of those design activities lacked connections to the science concepts in the unit; they were typically related to the topic of the science unit, but did not require the use or development of key science ideas. Eleven percent of participants developed engineering activities with deep connections to science concepts, and 35% developed activities with shallow connections. No differences were found between life science, physical science, and earth/space science units in terms of the extent of conceptual connections. However, we did find that participants who utilized and adapted published engineering curriculum materials rather than make them from scratch were more likely to have unit plans with higher levels of conceptual connections.
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