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  1. The rapid expansion of K-12 CS education has made it critical to support CS teachers, many of whom are new to teaching CS, with the necessary resources and training to strengthen their understanding of CS concepts and how to effectively teach CS. CS teachers are often tasked with teaching different curricula using different programming languages in different grades or during different school years, and tend to receive different professional development (PD) for each curriculum they are required to teach. This often leads to a lack of deep understanding of the underlying CS concepts and how different curricula address the samemore »concepts in different ways. Empowering teachers to develop a deep understanding of CS standards, and use formative assessments to recognize common student challenges associated with the standards, will enable teachers to provide more effective CS instruction, irrespective of the curriculum and/or programming language they are tasked with using. This position paper advocates supporting CS teacher professional learning by supplementing existing curriculum-specific teacher PD with standards-aligned PD that focuses on teachers' conceptual understanding of CS standards and ability to adapt instruction based on student understanding of concepts underlying the CS standards. We share concrete examples of how to design standards-aligned educative resources and instructionally supportive tools that promote teachers' understanding of CS standards and common student challenges and develop teachers' formative assessment literacy, all essential components of CS pedagogical content knowledge.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available February 22, 2023
  2. C2STEM is a web-based learning environment founded on a novel paradigm that combines block-structured, visual programming with the concept of domain specific modeling languages (DSMLs) to promote the synergistic learning of discipline-specific and computational thinking (CT) concepts and practices. Our design-based, collaborative learning environment aims to provide students in K-12 classrooms with immersive experiences in CT through computational modeling in realistic scenarios (e.g., building models of scientific phenomena). The goal is to increase student engagement and include inclusive opportunities for developing key computational skills needed for the 21st century workforce. Research implementations that include a semester-long high school physics classroommore »study have demonstrated the effectiveness of our approach in supporting synergistic learning of STEM and CS/CT concepts and practices, especially when compared to a traditional classroom approach. This technology demonstration will showcase our CS+X (X = physics, marine biology, or earth science) learning environment and associated curricula. Participants can engage in our design process and learn how to develop curricular modules that cover STEM and CS/CT concepts and practices. Our work is supported by an NSF STEM+C grant and involves a multi-institutional team comprising Vanderbilt University, SRI International, Looking Glass Ventures, Stanford University, Salem State University, and ETR. More information, including example computational modeling tasks, can be found at C2STEM.org.« less