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This project, titled Collective Argumentation Learning and Coding (CALC), aims to use the principles of collective argumentation to teach coding through appropriate reasoning. Creating and critiquing arguments as part of a coding activity promotes a more structured approach rather than the trial-and-error coding activity commonly used by novice programmers. Teaching coding via collective argumentation allows teachers to use methods that are already in use in mathematics and science instruction to teach coding, thus increasing the probability that it will be taught in conjunction with mathematics and science as regular parts of classroom instruction rather than relegated to an after-school or enrichment activity for only some students. Specific objectives of the CALC project are to - increase the attention that coding is given in the elementary classrooms taught by our participating teachers, and -direct students away from informal approaches (e.g.trial-and-error) to develop code to the more formal, structured approach recommended for novice programmers. Our research activities investigate teachers’ understanding of argumentation using the CALC concept and how the implementation of the CALC concept helps students (grades 3-5) learn how to code. The CALC approach supports the learning of coding by providing teachers with a formal, structured means to a) trace the growth of students’ understanding, and misunderstanding, of ideas (i.e., coding) as they form, b) facilitate students’ use of evidence, not opinion, to select a solution among multiple solutions (i.e., different sequencing of the code), and c) help each student realize she/he, as well as others, is a legitimate participant (i.e., a programmer) in the activity of developing, assessing and implementing an idea (e.g., coding of a robot). This paper/presentation discussed the first phase of an on-going investigation and focuses on a prototype graduate-level course designed for and taught to practicing elementary school teachers. The discussion outlines how the course impacted the participating teachers content knowledge of coding and their belief that coding can be made an integral part of everyday lessons, not as an add-on activity.more » « less
This project, titled Collective Argumentation Learning and Coding (CALC), is based on our belief that if teachers had an instructional approach that allowed them to teach coding alongside mathematics and science in integrated ways, then coding would become a mainstream subject taught in the elementary school curriculum. However, few practicing elementary school teachers have the academic backgrounds that allow them to teach coding in a manner that goes beyond allowing students to learn how to code through trial-and-error experimentation and as an additive learning activity such as an after-school program. Current content and practice standards call for the use of argumentation in the teaching of mathematics and science. This project is focused on extending the collective argumentation framework for the teaching of mathematics to the teaching of coding. Teachers at our partnering school district have completed the first design of a prototype CALC course where they used collective argumentation to learn how to code educational robotics. At the end of this course, the teachers developed lesson plans that were implemented in grades 3, 4 and 5.This paper and conference presentation focused on the research question, how do elementary school teachers use the CALC approach to support their students’ learning of coding, mathematics, and science content and practices? Overall, the implementation of the CALC approach demonstrated the growth of the teachers in their ability to teach coding as a reasoning process and as a means to integrate it into everyday classroom activities.more » « less