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Title: Finding Balance: The Tradeoffs in Ambition and Specificity When Creating an Inclusive Computing Pathway
Over the last three years, we have worked in a research practice partnership (RPP) between a research non-profit and three school districts to establish system-wide K-12 pathways that support equitable participation in computational thinking (CT) that is consistent across classrooms, cumulative from year to year, and competency-based. Reflecting on the work done over the last three years, we have identified tensions related to ambition and specificity within our RPP and the development, implementation, and spread of inclusive computing pathways. Ambitions can waver between grandiose upheaval in curriculum and classes and the identification of CT solely in what is already happening. While it is relatively easy to adopt and spread programs that propose modest change, these programs are not necessarily worth an investment nor do they produce CT skills in alignment with the district's overall vision. Similarly, the specificity in which computational thinking is operationalized can teeter between prescriptive lesson plans and broadly-stated curricular standards. Vague initiatives are difficult to implement, but teachers are also resistant to overly prescriptive programs. In this paper, we explore these tensions balancing ambition and specificity using examples from our partner districts. Drawing on our experiences co-designing the inclusive computing pathways as well as interviews with more » and open-ended questionnaire responses from our district partners, we discuss implications related to these issues and the ongoing tensions around ambition and specificity that need to be considered and overcome in terms of meeting the national call to develop more inclusive computing pathways for schools and districts. « less
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Intersection of RPP and Broadening Participation in Computing White Paper Compendium
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National Science Foundation
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