1409 Views
  1. Jillian Orr
  2. Executive Producer
  3. Presenter’s NSFRESOURCECENTERS
  4. WGBH, WGBH Educational Foundation
  1. Heather Lavigne
  2. http://cct.edc.org/people/lavigne-heather-0
  3. Research Scientist
  4. Presenter’s NSFRESOURCECENTERS
  1. Marisa Wolsky
  2. Executive Producer
  3. Presenter’s NSFRESOURCECENTERS
  4. WGBH Educational Foundation

Collaborative Research: The Development of Computational Literacy through the...

NSF Awards: 1814007, 1814039

2020 (see original presentation & discussion)

Grades K-6

Public media producers from WGBH and researchers from Education Development Center (EDC) are collaborating on The Development of Computational Literacy through the Integration of Computational Thinking and Early Language and Literacy Development in Urban Preschools.

This project aims to understand how preschool children can apply computational thinking, or CT, while developing their narrative skills, and how early childhood educators can integrate CT into their literacy activities.

In the project's first year, we convened a forum with experts in CT, literacy, and early childhood. Since then, through formative research of a learning intervention called The Story Emporium, we have learned a great deal about how preschool children can apply CT by recognizing and decomposing patterns in children's books and by leveraging digital technology to create their own stories.

We produced the following video to give preschool teachers who are testing The Story Emporium an overview of the project. The intervention and educator supports described in this video will be piloted next year.

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Original Discussion from the 2020 STEM For All Video Showcase
  • Icon for: Brian Kruse

    Brian Kruse

    Director, Teacher Learning Center
    May 4, 2020 | 02:56 p.m.

    Thank you for this. Foundational literacy is so important for later introduction of content. I like the focus on narrative flow, and the ability to make predictions about what would happen next. Please visit our video to see how we integrated storybooks into instruction, while encouraging students to create their own narratives.

  • Icon for: Marisa Wolsky

    Marisa Wolsky

    Co-Presenter
    May 5, 2020 | 11:55 a.m.

    Hi Brian,

    Thanks for pointing us to your video. We thought we might alert you to another project that we have developed, Peep and the Big Wide World. The characters featured in the videos and hands-on activities for this project were designed to foster para-social relationships with children, motivating them to interact with the media over time and adopt the science practices and activities the characters model. PEEP has a unit on Shadows that you may find helpful for the work you are doing. 

    http://peepandthebigwideworld.com/en/educators/...

    And here is a link to a storybook with PEEP observing the moon.

    https://mass.pbslearningmedia.org/resource/buac...

    Hope you find these resources helpful. Marisa

     

  • Icon for: Jacqueline Genovesi

    Jacqueline Genovesi

    Facilitator
    May 5, 2020 | 08:46 a.m.

    Thank you for sharing your project. I would love to hear more about the technology teachers are using to make their own narratives. Did they receive training in using the technology? How successful have they been so far in incorporating the technology into their daily activities? How does this compare with the other computational activities?

  • Icon for: Marisa Wolsky

    Marisa Wolsky

    Co-Presenter
    May 5, 2020 | 11:43 a.m.

    Hello Jacqueline,

    Simulating a storybook, The Story Emporium is a tablet app that children can use to program their own stories, along with accompanying hands-on activities and teacher scaffolds. The prototype app provides digital “story stickers,” images of characters, objects, actions, or locations, with accompanying text designed to reinforce reading. Children are able to program their own stories using a simple drag and drop mechanic to put the story stickers together to create a sequence of story components. When children press “play,” their story is read, music plays, and images and characters animate. We have created a prototype of a teacher version of The Story Emporium app, which provides integrated and just-in-time support. Highlights and overlays guide teachers through The Story Emporium app, providing information about how to support children's CT skills.

    Unfortunately, we were just about to test the teacher version of the app when the pandemic hit so we weren't able to see first hand how successful they would be incorporating this technology into their teaching. The project has been informed by best practices from the NSF-funded Next Generation Preschool Math project for integrating digital touch-screen interactives into preschool classrooms, including how to prepare classrooms for: (1) digital learning (e.g., making the learning explicit); (2) collaborative and social experiences with technology (e.g., allowing for group play as well as individual play); and (3) joint-media engagement between children and teachers (e.g., enabling teachers to see struggles, commend efforts, encourage perseverance, and better understand each child as a unique learner) (Orr, Kamdar, Lewis Presser, & Vahey, 2015). Our use of interactive tablet technology also align with NAEYC guidelines, including: (1) balanced use of technology as part of the daily routine; (2) use of interactives that are active, engaging, give children control while providing scaffolds to ease tasks; and (3) use of technology as one of many approaches to support learning. Approximately 45 to 60 minutes per session is devoted to non-digital activities and 15 to 30 minutes per session to digital activities.

    Let me know if this answers your questions. Thanks! Marisa

     

  • Icon for: Jacqueline Genovesi

    Jacqueline Genovesi

    Facilitator
    May 5, 2020 | 01:26 p.m.

    Marisa, thank you for the insight into the project. It sounds very promising. I can't wait to hear how the in-classroom testing goes once schools restart.

  • Icon for: Jessica Amsbary

    Jessica Amsbary

    Postdoctoral Research Scholar
    May 5, 2020 | 10:35 a.m.

    Hello! Thank you for sharing! I love the practical application of teaching foundational computational thinking skills for young children! I have two quick questions: 1.) Have you thought about what computational thinking may look like for even younger children (birth - 3 years old)? And 2.) Do you plan to adapt your activities to meet the needs of children with disabilities? I ask these as a postdoc at the STEM Innovation for Inclusion in Early Education Center (STEMIE) and would love to talk further about what your project is doing! (Also - feel free to check out STEMIE's introductory video...link here: https://videohall.com/p/1845) Thank you!

  • Small default profile

    Marisa Wolsky

    Informal Educator
    May 5, 2020 | 11:29 a.m.

    Jessica, we would also love to talk to you further. Our project isn't currently focusing on the younger children. In its design, we are considering the needs of ELL but not children with disabilities. It would be great if we could meet to hear what you are learning in your research. Marisa

  • Icon for: Jessica Amsbary

    Jessica Amsbary

    Postdoctoral Research Scholar
    May 5, 2020 | 02:27 p.m.

    Thanks for the response, Marisa...great, let's try to chat sometime in the coming weeks. Feel free to reach out to me at: amsbary@email.unc.edu. Thanks again and enjoy the showcase!

  • Icon for: Karen Rambo-Hernandez

    Karen Rambo-Hernandez

    Higher Ed Faculty
    May 5, 2020 | 11:58 a.m.

    How fun! I am working on a funded grant to incorporate coding into K-2 classes- the biggest problem we are having is how to assess CT with our kindergarten kids. I'd love to know how you are assessing CT with your preschool students. 

    Karen 

  • Icon for: Marisa Wolsky

    Marisa Wolsky

    Co-Presenter
    May 5, 2020 | 01:12 p.m.

    Hi Karen,

    I'll be sure to take a look at your video. In the meantime, to explore how to assess CT with our target audience of 4-5 year-olds, we iteratively designed a playful set of hands-on CT assessment tasks. EDC researchers tested several different types, including a sequencing task in which children were provided with pretend ingredients and asked to explain the necessary steps to make a pizza. When comparing the behavior of children in the intervention and control groups, we observed that intervention children were able to generate a greater number of steps. We believe this task was particularly effective because it involved a real-world, relatable problem, and because it required open-ended responses that displayed children’s enactment of CT skills more clearly than closed-ended questions could. In another task involving the sequencing of cards, we observed that intervention children had a greater ability to shift their thinking and try different strategies when attempting to place the cards in a logical order. This suggests that it is critical not only to examine children’s success in reaching a final solution, but the process with which they approach problem solving. To assess children’s CT learning more distally, EDC researchers explored methods for assessing young children’s pre-coding skills. After investigating eight potential coding platforms designed for young children, EDC determined that the Robot Mouse—a programmable toy mouse created by Learning Resources that children guide towards a target using coding cards—was ideal for this purpose of eliciting target behaviors that could demonstrate a transfer of early CT into a programming environment. Our pilot testing yielded valuable information for continued development of the task as an outcome measure (Lavigne et al., 2019). Children were able to understand researchers’ instructions on how to use the toy and complete sequences in relatively short amounts of time. Additionally, children were able to use the coding cards to clearly demonstrate their CT skills. Children also encountered challenges with the task (e.g., navigating turns, relaying their plan to the mouse via its buttons), and researchers identified the need for more standardized prompting.

    Happy to chat with your further about this if you'd like more information. 

    Best, Marisa

  • Icon for: Marisa Wolsky

    Marisa Wolsky

    Co-Presenter
    May 5, 2020 | 01:30 p.m.

    Karen,

    I just got my projects mixed up! My response describe what we did on prior projects to assess individual CT skills, but for this project we’re really interested in exploring computational literacy or how children use their CT skills to create stories. For example, instead of measuring whether children can assemble a set of picture cards in the correct sequential order (sequencing), the team is developing a task that require the use of multiple skills towards solving a problem. Again, happy to discuss further. Cheers, Marisa

  • Icon for: Chih-Pu Dai

    Chih-Pu Dai

    Graduate Student
    May 5, 2020 | 01:16 p.m.

    This project looks interesting, I like how CT can be integrated with early language and literacy development. I am wondering what is the composition of the ethnicities in your collaborating urban preschools? are there many ESL students? Also, are there collaborative activities for the students in that pattern recognizing tasks in children's books? I love that activity; looks fun!

  • Icon for: Heather Lavigne

    Heather Lavigne

    Co-Presenter
    May 5, 2020 | 02:23 p.m.

    Hi Chih-Pu,

    Thanks for sending in your question! We made a commitment early in our project to work with early childhood centers that serve ethnically and linguistically diverse populations. This includes students whose first language is not English (FLNE). While there are individual differences in ethnic composition or percentages of FLNE learners across our centers, we are committed to ensuring that the diversity of our nation's urban preschool classrooms is represented in this research.  As we've described in some of our other posts, our latest rounds of classroom research have been delayed. As we move into working with more classrooms, we'll be able to share the demographic characteristics across our participating sites. But your question is definitely on our minds as we're working and gearing up to recruit additional sites for our future research!

    If I understand your second question correctly, nearly all of the intervention's activities, whether done in large group, small group, or introduced via the app, are intended to generate dialogue with teachers and encourage collaboration between students. For example, during large group activities, children can all contribute to the creation of a story chart that models how the story follows a pattern using the available story elements. These activities suggest that teachers model the use of the story chart as children start to learn about the story patterns. In smaller groups, the teacher asks children to collaboratively contribute to the creation of the chart and to allow children to create their own stories using the same pattern.

    If you have more questions, let us know. Thanks for chatting with us!

    Heather

     
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    Chih-Pu Dai
  • Icon for: Abigail Levy

    Abigail Levy

    Facilitator
    May 5, 2020 | 04:30 p.m.

    Thank you for sharing this work. I understand the frustration of being prevented by COVID-19 from not being able to test the teacher version of the app and so not being able to learn how well teachers would be able to incorporate the Story Emporium into their teaching. I'm curious what hunches you had about this, and what you were preparing yourselves to investigate?

  • Icon for: Heather Lavigne

    Heather Lavigne

    Co-Presenter
    May 6, 2020 | 10:21 a.m.

    Hi Abigail!  Thanks so much for stopping by to learn about our project!  From our prior work, we know that many early childhood educators have never received training in computational thinking so this may be a first-time experience for them.  We want the instructional supports for the Story Emporium to be informative but not overwhelming. We understand how difficult it might be to absorb it all just through reading a lot of text. We want to think creatively about how to deliver these resources in ways that incorporate visuals and other creative methods for modeling the activities in action. In our next rounds of work, we want to make sure that the instructional supports are effective in giving teachers the guidance they need to emphasize CT in the context of literacy activities. We’ve already consulted with advisors, but we are excited to work more closely with teachers and training experts to explore the best ways to deliver this content.

  • Icon for: Abigail Levy

    Abigail Levy

    Facilitator
    May 7, 2020 | 09:33 a.m.

    Hi Heather! It's an interesting and frustrating puzzle - how to support teachers and move our research forward during this time of isolation. I'm sure you're right about CT being new to many early childhood educators - both what CT means and how to use it well in their instruction. And learning through a lot of text isn't an engaging or effective approach - as we know. Could technology help - virtual reality or some kind of immersive experience for teachers? Could the gaming world contribute? This challenge will be with us for a long time so solutions we find now will have a long life. Thanks for your work on this.

  • Icon for: Alison Billman

    Alison Billman

    Facilitator
    May 6, 2020 | 02:05 p.m.

    Thank you for sharing your interesting work! Narrative/stories are an important feature in preschool and so provide a ready space for integrating Story Emporium. I am curious, we know that children are very curious about the natural world and frequently are exploring and investigating phenomena in the school yard or in their own backyards. Science is not as common a feature in preschool classrooms. Have you thought about expanding to create similar platforms that use the context of science--perhaps building on some of the crosscutting concepts? 

     
    1
    Discussion is closed. Upvoting is no longer available

    Abigail Levy
  • Icon for: Heather Lavigne

    Heather Lavigne

    Co-Presenter
    May 6, 2020 | 04:14 p.m.

    Hi Alison!  Thank you for chatting with us here in the Showcase. We agree that science would provide a tremendous opportunity for young children to practice CT. In our project work thus far, we've focused on math and literacy, as these are some the main content priorities of early childhood education programs. If you'd like to check out the work we've done for integrating CT into preschool math, you can check out our other video showcase project: https://stemforall2020.videohall.com/presentati...

    The ultimate goal would be to carry our thinking on these projects forward to how CT could be practiced by our early learners across all of the content areas! 

  • Icon for: Ximena Dominguez

    Ximena Dominguez

    Researcher
    May 7, 2020 | 10:59 a.m.

    Hello, WGBH and EDC team! I have spoken to you all about this work, but it was great to watch the video and see some of the resources your team has developed. I think the connection to language and literacy is powerful and the materials you develop are always such high quality.

    In our design work exploring the integration between CT and science, teachers designed activities that involved stories (using felt boards). These ended up being some of the children's and teachers' favorites. Children decomposed challenges through these narratives and then later engaged in science investigations related to the challenges. I am curious to know how you have considered supports for DLLs/ELLs, as well as whether you've assessed children's learning (triangulating their CT and language/literacy learning). 

  • Icon for: Marisa Wolsky

    Marisa Wolsky

    Co-Presenter
    May 8, 2020 | 01:01 p.m.

    Hello Ximena,

    So glad you enjoyed the video and thank you for your kind words about our work. 

    Regarding your question on how we are supporting ELLs, in our research, we are trying to uncover any aspects of activities that are tough for these students. Additionally, our work is being informed by another CT project EDC and WGBH collaborated on, in which we provided scaffolds for English Language Learners that allowed them to test out ideas, find problems, and demonstrate understanding without a lot of language. These included using symbols that show what to do, using hand gestures, allowing the manipulation of objects, and providing demonstrations.

    We’re attempting to triangulate a bit with our assessment plan in our pilot study. We’re development a CL learning task and also using some existing preschool literacy measures to see how performance on the task corresponds to pre/post measures of children’s literacy.

    Thank you for your question! Marisa

  • May 7, 2020 | 07:01 p.m.

    Great work, Jillian, Heather, Marisa, and team! It's wonderful to see progress on this exciting project and this video! I love the use of the use-modify-create framework that we use so often in intro programming too! Good luck with the field studies, and looking forward to hearing more about implementation and assessment!
    All best!

  • Icon for: Marisa Wolsky

    Marisa Wolsky

    Co-Presenter
    May 8, 2020 | 06:55 a.m.

    Thanks, Shuchi. We will keep you abreast of our progress!

  • May 8, 2020 | 12:44 p.m.

     Just wanted to say "hey"! Loved the video! Great work.

  • Icon for: Heather Lavigne

    Heather Lavigne

    Co-Presenter
    May 8, 2020 | 12:46 p.m.

    Hi Mike, Nice to see you virtually! Thanks so much for stopping by to check out our video; looking forward to keeping this work going!

  • May 8, 2020 | 01:19 p.m.

    What a fun project! I really LOVE the story telling aspect of this approach and the connections that are made to foundational CT skills. There are lots of synergies across the work that our teams at Digital Promise, EDC, SRI, and WGBH are doing in the PreK/early learning CT space. Will be great to connect and share more about what we are learning! 

  • Icon for: Heather Lavigne

    Heather Lavigne

    Co-Presenter
    May 8, 2020 | 01:32 p.m.

    Hi Danae! Hope you're doing well. It's funny - I think our paths just virtually crossed, as I was just watching and commenting on your team's video.  I really enjoyed the chance to see what you all are working on. And I totally agree - there is so much that we can learn from each other!

  • Icon for: Amy Hutchison

    Amy Hutchison

    Associate Professor
    May 9, 2020 | 09:53 a.m.

    It's great to see how you are connecting CT and literacy. My team also has an NSF-funded project focused on integrating CT and coding into content area instruction in elementary classrooms. We have found that literacy is one of the best places to integrate these skills because of the patterns we find in books and because coding stories provides a meaningful way for students to express their understanding of stories. Your work seems like a great precursor to the work we are doing. Thanks for sharing

  • Icon for: Heather Lavigne

    Heather Lavigne

    Co-Presenter
    May 11, 2020 | 11:03 a.m.

    Hi Amy!  Thanks for checking out our project! It's so exciting to see all of the work happening across preK-12.  We'd love to hear more about your approach and what you're learning from your work in elementary classrooms.

  • May 12, 2020 | 05:14 p.m.

    This is great.  Young learners love listening, and offering a curriculum that integrates computational thinking via narrative is a great way to introduce this topic! Especially love that the curriculum leverages patterns, predictions and production.  Can't wait to see how this program grows.  Thanks for sharing.

  • May 12, 2020 | 07:05 p.m.

    While computational thinking involving concepts like abstraction and representation is difficult to teach in general to school children, it gets more challenging how to scale the approaches down to the level of preschoolers. Great attempt and work by your team to address this challenge.   

  • Further posting is closed as the event has ended.

Multiplex Discussion
  • Icon for: Kathryn Hobbs

    Kathryn Hobbs

    Researcher
    June 5, 2020 | 02:14 p.m.

    This video is included in the curated playlist for the Multiplex's, June Theme of the Month, Integrating CS and Computational Thinking in the Pre K-8 Grades. Please feel free to post a message to the presenter here and also to participate to the theme of the month discussion, which will begin following the webinar panel.

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