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  1. This work examines the application of high-quality pedagogical practices in the design and implementation of an after-school physical computing program aimed at providing middle school students with access to computer science (CS) education. It subsequently examines how the program influenced students’ learning of CS concepts and attitudes towards computing. The program was designed and implemented through a school-university partnership, and 66 middle school students voluntarily participated. There were two cohorts of students in the study. Results indicate that the program had a positive impact on students’ understanding of CS concepts, and a significant impact on attitudes towards computing was seen among those in the second cohort. Implications are drawn for the design of informal after-school programs aimed at broadening participation in computing. 
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  2. Female and racially minoritized groups continue to be underrepresented in computer science (CS) and STEM careers, despite ongoing efforts to diversify the field. One way to promote the success of minoritized students in CS education is to incorporate culturally relevant pedagogy (CRP) into CS curriculum and instruction. This work explores the ways that teachers integrated CRP in their lesson plans after participating in CRP-focused professional development (PD) sessions delivered during a week-long PD aimed at improving and diversifying CS education. Our analysis of the lesson plans reveals that teachers integrated CRP at levels ranging from superficial to foundational. At the superficial level, teachers treated CRP as an “add-on” strategy with minimal relevance to the lesson content. At the foundational level, CRP was central to student mastery of core content learning. This work contributes to our understanding about how teachers approach the concept of relevance when integrating CRP in CS education. Findings have implications for approaches to PD design that support teachers in integrating CRP in CS education, as well as other STEM classrooms. 
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  3. Elementary schools provide a natural entry point to computer science (CS) education, yet elementary teachers spend most of their instructional time in literacy and math. One way to bring CS in elementary schools is through integrated approaches. In this work we present a professional development (PD) program that helps elementary teachers integrate CS with content and culturally relevant pedagogy to create accessible CS instruction. Qualitative data were collected from five teachers who attended the year-long program. Findings indicate that all teachers fully integrated CS with content and culturally-relevant pedagogy; however, such integration focused mostly on literacy and closely paralleled what was presented in PD. Implications are drawn regarding the design of PD programs that help teachers integrate CS in elementary classrooms. 
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  4. Teachers’ lack of computer science (CS) content knowledge and limited opportunities to incorporate CS in existing curricula pose unique challenges at the elementary level. Despite the crucial role of professional development (PD) in preparing elementary school teachers to integrate CS in classroom instruction, there is little research documenting PD programs that focus on integration in literacy and mathematics when compared to other subject areas. In this work, we present a PD program that integrates CS with disciplinary content to support teachers as they integrate CS with literacy and mathematics in elementary school classrooms. Using data from multiple sources, we present findings from two case studies to examine the impact of the PD on teachers’ integration of CS with content in lesson planning and implementation. Findings have implications related to the integration of CS in elementary school and teacher professional development. 
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  5. As the field of computer science (CS) is gaining increased attention, the need for qualified teachers is rapidly growing. Yet little is still known about the design features, implementation, and outcomes of professional development programs in computing. The purpose of this study is threefold: (a) examine a CS professional development program built around high-quality design features reported in the research literature, (b) investigate the impact of the program on participating teachers’ learning and classroom practice, and (c) identify specific design features that facilitated changes in teacher learning and practice. The study employed a mixed-methods design. Data were collected from multiple sources including, pre and post survey data on teacher knowledge of CS content, pedagogy, and technology (N = 94), as well as interviews and classroom implementation data from eight case study participants. Findings from this work indicated that participants reported improvements in their knowledge of CS content, pedagogy, and technology. They also applied new learning into their practice, though implementation varied among participants. Responding on the value of the professional development design features, teachers noted the importance of focusing on CS content knowledge as well as opportunities to engage with pedagogical practices for teaching computing. Findings also indicated the important role of contextualized follow-up classroom support in the implementation of new learning into practice. These findings have implications for the design of professional development programs grounded in best practices with the potential to support broad efforts intended to prepare teachers with the knowledge and skills needed to deliver CS education. 
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  6. Conversational agents that respond to user information requests through a natural conversation have the potential to revolutionize how we acquire new information on the Web (i.e., perform exploratory Web searches). Recent advances to conversational search agents use popular Web search engines as a back-end and sophisticated AI algorithms to maintain context, automatically generate search queries, and summarize results into utterances. While showing impressive results on general topics, the potential of this technology for software engineering is unclear. In this paper, we study the potential of conversational search agents to aid software developers as they acquire new knowledge. We also obtain user perceptions of how far the most recent generation of such systems (e.g., Facebook's BlenderBot2) has come in its ability to serve software developers. Our study indicates that users find conversational agents helpful in gaining useful information for software-related exploratory search; however, their perceptions also indicate a large gap between expectations and current state of the art tools, especially in providing high-quality information. Participant responses provide directions for future work. 
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  7. The need to expand computer science learning for all students has led to an increase in professional development (PD) opportunities for teachers. The Covid-19 pandemic, however, necessitated changes in well-established PD programs and a shift to virtual delivery. In this work, we describe our transition to a virtual PD institute, including the topics and design principles guiding the institute. We also examine how participation in the virtual PD institute infuenced teacher outcomes. Data were collected from two cohorts of teachers. Data sources included surveys (N=30), lesson plans (N=22), and interviews (N=17) from a purposeful sample of participants. Findings gleaned from quantitative and qualitative analysis suggest an increase in teachers’ knowledge and self-efcacy while highlighting the afordances of virtual PD most valued by teachers. Findings have implications for research and practice. 
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  8. The need to expand computer science learning for all students has led to an increase in publicly and privately funded professional development (PD) opportunities for teachers. Our research team has been involved in the design of equity-focused PD opportunities for teachers in computing since 2012 by building partnerships with K-12 systems. The COVID-19 pandemic necessitated changes in our approach and a shift to a virtual PD institute. In this work, we describe our transition to a virtual PD institute, including the topics and design principles guiding the institute. We also examine how the virtual PD influenced teacher outcomes. Findings suggest an increase in teachers’ knowledge and self-efficacy while highlighting the affordances of virtual platforms most valued by teachers. 
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  9. null (Ed.)
    The field of computer science continues to lack diverse representation from women and racially minoritized individuals. One way to address the discrepancies in representation is through systematic changes in computer science education from a young age. Pedagogical and instructional changes are needed to promote meaningful and equitable learning that engage students with rigorous and inclusive curricula. We developed an equity-focused professional development program for teachers that promotes culturally responsive pedagogy in the context of computer science education. This paper provides an overview of our culturally responsive frameworks and an examination of how teachers conceptualized and integrated culturally responsive pedagogy in their classrooms. Findings revealed that teachers were consistently planning to implement a wide range of culturally responsive instructional and pedagogical practices into their classrooms. 
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  10. null (Ed.)
    In this work we examine youth learning in an informal computing program implemented through a library-university partnership. In particular, we introduce and illustrate a culturally responsive computing framework which served as a foundation for the design of the program. Subsequently, we examine youth collaboration as well as affective and cognitive learning outcomes. Data were collected from university program facilitators and 30 youth over one semester. Data were collected through observations, lesson plans, computational artifacts and interviews with two case study youth. Results indicated that youth formed a variety of learning communities during the collaborative development of computing artifacts. Frequent participants were found to work with a greater number of peers compared to less frequent participants. Results from case study participants also indicated improvements in their computational competencies. Findings from this work have implications for the design of informal learning environments that help broaden participation in computing. 
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