The Maker Partnership Program (MPP) is an NSF-supported project that addresses the critical need for models of professional development (PD) and support that help elementary-level science teachers integrate computer science and computational thinking (CS and CT) into their classroom practices. The MPP aims to foster integration of these disciplines through maker pedagogy and curriculum. The MPP was designed as a research-practice partnership that allows researchers and practitioners to collaborate and iteratively design, implement and test the PD and curriculum. This paper describes the key elements of the MPP and early findings from surveys of teachers and students participating in the program. Our research focuses on learning how to develop teachers’ capacity to integrate CS and CT into elementary-level science instruction; understanding whether and how this integrated instruction promotes deeper student learning of science, CS and CT, as well as interest and engagement in these subjects; and exploring how the model may need to be adapted to fit local contexts. Participating teachers reported gaining knowledge and confidence for implementing the maker curriculum through the PDs. They anticipated that the greatest implementation challenges would be lack of preparation time, inaccessible computer hardware, lack of administrative support, and a lack of CS knowledge.more »
This content will become publicly available on January 1, 2023
Analysis of Computational Thinking in Children’s Literature for K-6 Students: Literature as a Non-Programming Unplugged Resource
As schools and districts across the United States adopt computer science standards and curriculum for K-12 computer science education, they look to integrate the foundational concepts of computational thinking (CT) into existing core subjects of elementary-age students. Research has shown the effectiveness of teaching CT elements (abstraction, generalization, decomposition, algorithmic thinking, debugging) using non-programming, unplugged approaches. These approaches address common barriers teachers face with lack of knowledge, familiarity, or technology tools. Picture books and graphic novels present an unexplored non-programming, unplugged resource for teachers to integrate computational thinking into their CT or CT-integrated lessons. This analysis examines 27 picture books and graphic novels published between 2015 and 2020 targeted to K-6 students for representation of computational thinking elements. Using the computational thinking curriculum framework for K-6, we identify the grade-level competencies of the CT elements featured in the books compared to the books’ target age groups. We compare grade-level competencies to interest level to identify each CT element representation as “foundational,” “on-target,” or “advanced.” We conclude that literature offers teachers a non-programming unplugged resource to expose students to CT and enhance CT and CT-integrated lessons, while also personalizing learning based on CT readiness and interest level.
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- Journal Name:
- Journal of Educational Computing Research
- Sponsoring Org:
- National Science Foundation
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