1. Joseph Kern
  3. Emporia State
  1. C. Matt Seimears, Ph. D.
  2. Chair, Professor
  4. Emporia State

Integration of Computing in Rural Agricultural Education

NSF Awards: 1742519

2019 (see original presentation & discussion)

Grades 6-8, Grades 9-12

The Agricultural Applications of Computer Science (Ag-ACS) project is exploring the impact of a modular physical programming curriculum that puts computer science and computational thinking skills in the hands of the students who will one day lead science and agricultural industries.  Small schools can rarely support computer science elective courses, so 20% of the country's students are simply missing out because they are growing up in rural areas.

The Ag-ACS project targets rural students and engages them in computer science applications that solve problems embedded in their science or agriculture course content.  Plant science lessons can be enhanced by having students program a temperature control system or an irrigation system for optimum plant health. Animal science lessons can lead to developing a daylight-controlled chicken coop door.  Field ecology can be aided by smartphone apps created to track local wildlife data. These curriculum modules are being piloted by a cohort of new-to-programming pilot teachers who teach anywhere from 5th grade to high school, in a variety of content areas. The impact of these activities on students’ attitudes toward programming and computer science careers and the independent projects developed by students, along with pilot teacher feedback, will contribute to an understanding of the feasibility of this model of teaching computer science and computational thinking that reaches a wider audience than traditional programming initiatives.

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