June Expert Panel: Integrating Computer Science and Computational Thinking in the Pre K-8 Grades

Overview Blog Expert Panel Resources Synthesis Brief

Recorded June 10, 2020 at 3:00PM EDT


Description: Computer science (CS) and computational thinking (CT) is growing in popularity across K-12 schools. Teachers in the elementary grades, in particular, are looking at ways to integrate CS/CT into the core subjects. This month, we will explore the opportunities and challenges of bringing these concepts to primary grades education. This theme will explore four intersecting topics: 1) the case for CS/CT in K-8 as a means of building a foundation of knowledge and broadening participation in CS education; 2) how students are being equitably engaged and what are they learning; 3) how teachers are being prepared and supported; and 4) the role of state and national policies in promoting CS/CT education in the elementary and middle school grades.

Presentation Slides
Zoom Chat Transcript
CS Resources compiled from the Webinar Chat





Melissa Rasberry is a Principal Education Consultant at the American Institutes for Research. She serves as the Principal Investigator for the CS for All Teachers, a virtual community of practice for teachers of CS in grades PreK-12.



Alan Peterfreund is Executive Director of SageFox Consulting Group, an education and evaluation firm that has been supporting and leading education reform projects for 20 years. Alan is currently PI for two projects; RPPforCS - a connected community of practice of NSF CS for ALL; RPP awardees, and CSEdGrad - an investigation of the pathways of CS Education Research PhDs.



Bobby Oommen is a middle school teacher at the Latin School of Chicago in Illinois. In addition to teaching a CS course for fifth and eighth graders, he integrates CS across all grade levels through cross-curricular projects. Bobby earned his B.S. in information systems from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, but has not let his learning stop there. He has taken numerous online courses and been trained as a Code.org facilitator. Bobby regularly uses his YouTube channel to share tutorials.


Nancy McGowan is an instructional math coach at Shades Mountain Elementary in Hoover, Alabama. Much of Nancy’s training in computer science is self-taught and she enjoys learning alongside her students. She is a National Board certified teacher with an Ed.S in Educational Technology. Nancy serves as a community ambassador for the CS for All Teachers community.


Dr. Anne Ottenbreit-Leftwich is an Associate Professor of Instructional Systems Technology within the School of Education and an Adjunct Professor of Computer Science at Indiana University – Bloomington. Dr. Leftwich has collaborated with Google, Code.org, and ECEP to investigate ways to teach computer science and expand these offerings at the preservice and inservice levels. She is Indiana’s co-lead for the ECEP alliance and working with CSforIN to increase CS access opportunities for all K-12 Indiana students. Her research focuses on teachers’ value beliefs related to technology and computer science, as well as how those beliefs influence teachers’ adoption and implementation.