1240 Views
  1. Ximena Dominguez
  2. Director of Early STEM Research
  3. Presenter’s NSFRESOURCECENTERS
  4. Digital Promise
  1. Phil Balisciano
  2. Senior Digital Producer
  3. Presenter’s NSFRESOURCECENTERS
  4. Curious Media
  1. Sara Gracely
  2. Project Manager
  3. Presenter’s NSFRESOURCECENTERS
  4. SRI International
  1. Shuchi Grover
  2. https://shuchigrover.com
  3. Senior Research Scientist
  4. Presenter’s NSFRESOURCECENTERS
  5. Looking Glass Ventures, Stanford University
  1. Danae Kamdar
  2. https://digitalpromise.org/our-team/
  3. Early STEM Education Researcher/Curriculum Developer
  4. Presenter’s NSFRESOURCECENTERS
  5. Digital Promise
  1. Tiffany Leones
  2. Early STEM Education Researcher
  3. Presenter’s NSFRESOURCECENTERS
  4. Digital Promise
  1. Philip Vahey
  2. https://www.linkedin.com/in/philvahey/
  3. Director of Strategic Research and Innovation
  4. Presenter’s NSFRESOURCECENTERS

Developing the Next Generation of Problem Solvers: Investigating the Integrat...

NSF Awards: 1827293

2020 (see original presentation & discussion)

Grades K-6

Recent advances in our understanding of the building blocks of Computational Thinking (CT) and new insights into the capabilities of young learners have made early CT an area ripe for exploration. This NSF-funded project aims to identify CT concepts and skills that align with the abilities and interests of preschool children and support the school readiness goals established by early learning programs and policies. Furthermore, it investigates the integration of CT with early mathematics and science, and involves the development of integrated activities and resources to provide young children with rich early STEM learning experiences at home and school.

Project activities include: (1) developing research-based learning blueprints that delineate learning goals that integrate CT with mathematics and science; (2) designing and iteratively testing hands-on activities that address these learning goals in authentic ways and digital tools to uniquely enhance learning; and (3) identifying principles that can be used by other researchers and practitioners exploring CT and STEM integration in formal and informal settings.

Our work involves bringing together learning scientists, curriculum developers, media designers, preschool educators, and parents/caregivers to work together and co-design activities and resources. This participatory approach helps ensure that design decisions are evidence-based, take into account the interests of young children, link home and school learning, and address the needs and strengths of preschool programs and culturally diverse families. We believe this collaborative process leads to the development of resources that can be feasibly implemented and more likely to be adopted by preschool programs and families.

 

This video has had approximately 512 visits by 326 visitors from 201 unique locations. It has been played 180 times.
Click to See Activity Worldwide
Map reflects activity with this presentation from the 2020 STEM For All Video Showcase website, as well as the STEM For All Multiplex website.
Based on periodically updated Google Analytics data. This is intended to show usage trends but may not capture all activity from every visitor.
show more
Original Discussion from the 2020 STEM For All Video Showcase
  • Icon for: Dave Miller

    Dave Miller

    Higher Ed Faculty
    May 5, 2020 | 08:31 a.m.

    Hi, nice job with the video. Big fan of the work from Digital Promise and SRI. Wondering about lesson plans & PD that you might be working on. Always interested in sharing great work and cutting edge pathways with the teachers and school districts we support.  Thanks for your valuable work, here!

     
    3
    Discussion is closed. Upvoting is no longer available

    Pati Ruiz
    Shuchi Grover
    Ximena Dominguez
  • Icon for: Ximena Dominguez

    Ximena Dominguez

    Lead Presenter
    Director of Early STEM Research
    May 5, 2020 | 09:29 a.m.

    Thank you, Dave! Yes, our work included co-designing classroom lessons and activities with preschool teachers and parents. It's been an iterative process and we are still working on revisions/improvements. They include hands on experiences that engage children in playful learning (e.g., art, building, story telling) as they engage in CT and mathematics/science. They involve play dough stations, map navigation, organizing dramatic play areas such as the grocery store, among others. We plan to make an initial set available via an upcoming website so that teachers can download them and give them a try. Our plan is to continue this research and development work as well; we are hoping to grow a library of lessons and activities that cover a broader set of CT and STEM skills and practices and continue to learn from teacher and families. 

    This exploratory work also allowed us to better understand what teachers and parents may value and need in terms of support as they engage children in CT. We have started to sketch some ideas for PD. For now, we are working on some infographic and instructional videos, but we are hoping to tackle this is earnest in an upcoming grant. 

     
    3
    Discussion is closed. Upvoting is no longer available

    Sumreen Asim
    Dave Miller
    Shuchi Grover
  • Icon for: Ximena Dominguez

    Ximena Dominguez

    Lead Presenter
    Director of Early STEM Research
    May 5, 2020 | 08:32 a.m.

    Welcome to our Next Generation Problem Solvers video story! Thank you for taking the time to watch; we look forward to discussing with you and benefiting from your feedback.

    Our team is very excited to share our process for investigating early CT teaching and learning, as well as the lessons learned as we co-designed hands on experiences and apps to promote CT in integration with mathematics and science, across home and school. We just completed our final round of data collection and are looking forward to sharing our emerging findings. Soon you’ll be able to access the home activities, classroom lessons and digital games via our upcoming project website/Apple Store/Google Store. 

    If you are engaging in co-design efforts that integrate early STEM/CT, we’d love to hear what you are learning from the process. 

  • Icon for: James Brown

    James Brown

    Facilitator
    May 5, 2020 | 08:32 a.m.

    I like the idea of incorporating CT skills to enhance the current math and science curriculum.  How do you envision scaling this up to reach more educators?

     
    2
    Discussion is closed. Upvoting is no longer available

    Shuchi Grover
    Ximena Dominguez
  • Icon for: Ximena Dominguez

    Ximena Dominguez

    Lead Presenter
    Director of Early STEM Research
    May 5, 2020 | 12:19 p.m.

    That's a great question, James. This initial exploratory work allowed us identify candidate CT skills and practices that show promise for supporting early learning, and involved co-designing activities and digital resources to promote a subset of them. Our goal is to continue this R&D work to generate a broader set of resources that teachers and families can use to integrate CT in early childhood. In doing so, we hope to work with more educators and families and conduct larger field studies to better understand what are implementation successes and challenges, and inform the development of resources to support adults (teachers and families) as they scaffold children's learning. We are exploring innovative uses of technology (e.g., online guides to support face to face PD, blended coaching models, micro-credentials) as we plan for this next phase. 

     
    1
    Discussion is closed. Upvoting is no longer available

    James Brown
  • Icon for: Michael Clinchot

    Michael Clinchot

    K-12 Teacher
    May 5, 2020 | 01:17 p.m.

    Great to see this amazing work being done for early education.  CT skills are important across so many disciplines and yet I see my middle school students still struggling to master them.  I find that many of these ideas can be translated to elementary and middle school education.  Has the project done any related work at these levels?

     
    2
    Discussion is closed. Upvoting is no longer available

    Ximena Dominguez
    Shuchi Grover
  • Icon for: Shuchi Grover

    Shuchi Grover

    Co-Presenter
    May 5, 2020 | 02:53 p.m.

    Thanks, Michael. Indeed CT skills are important across many disciplines. This work in fact, drew on related work we did on prior projects at the middle school level in the SF Bay Area including at San Francisco Unified School District.
    The VELA NSF project (csforall.sri.com; NSF#1543062) involved designed unplugged and digital non-programming activities for middle school, and that work was influential in the early conceptualizations of activities (suitable for preK learners) in this project.

  • Icon for: Jody Paul

    Jody Paul

    Higher Ed Faculty
    May 5, 2020 | 02:00 p.m.

    Great ideas and implementations, and so clearly presented! Thank you for all you are doing to bring computational thinking into the mainstream for young learners.

     
    2
    Discussion is closed. Upvoting is no longer available

    Ximena Dominguez
    Shuchi Grover
  • Icon for: Ximena Dominguez

    Ximena Dominguez

    Lead Presenter
    Director of Early STEM Research
    May 6, 2020 | 12:01 a.m.

    Thank you for your kind message, Jody. I really enjoyed your team's video as well, and learning about your work around equity and inclusivity.

  • Icon for: Jaymee Nanasi Davis

    Jaymee Nanasi Davis

    Researcher
    May 5, 2020 | 04:26 p.m.

    As a new mom, I love the idea of teaching CT skills (along with math/science) to preschool aged children.  Your example activity seems easy enough to do at home. I follow a few moms on instagram and facebook... and sometimes the instructional videos/pictures aren't as easy as they seem lol.  

    In my professional life, I'm work on a project that focuses on Problem-based Learning with high school students.  I'd like to hear more about your suggested processes of problem decomposition. I mean if you can teach it to preschoolers, then for sure teenagers can catch on :)

    I'm curious as to how you brought together media developers, scientists, teachers, families, and curriculum developers? And what was your biggest challenge? 

     
    1
    Discussion is closed. Upvoting is no longer available

    Ximena Dominguez
  • Icon for: Ximena Dominguez

    Ximena Dominguez

    Lead Presenter
    Director of Early STEM Research
    May 6, 2020 | 12:24 a.m.

    Hello, Jaymee, and congratulations on becoming a mom! I am a mom of two young children and love the idea of introducing CT and STEM in playful ways as well. Young children are naturally interested in understanding the world around them and thrive during learning experiences that allow them to explore and test ideas in an authentic and fun way. 

    Our work around problem decomposition (PD) is yielding very interesting findings. We found that our team was able to co-design various activities to promote PD. For instance, parents were able to identify routines (getting ready for school/bed, packing for trips) as opportunities to decompose tasks. They also identified home activities such as cooking as promising in that regard as well. Educators also identified art activities (such as the play-dough one mentioned in the video which integrates math) and storytelling activities that integrate science as opportunities to promote PD. An interesting observation we noted during co-design is that many of these activities were already happening in classrooms and homes, but the actual decomposition was done by adults and shared with children. In our pilot studies, lessons involved engaging children in the decomposition process themselves. Our emerging findings indicate that children were indeed able to decompose many tasks and problems. However, we have also found that assessing PD to make inferences of children's learning is hard. In part this was due to the fact that many of the PD assessments developed required verbal responses (and young learners are learning language simultaneously). Items that involved manipulatives but involved simpler tasks (to ensure they were brief) were not complex enough for children to see the benefit of decomposition (and hence engage in it). This is something we are working to explore further. 

    Regarding our partnership: We created a multidisciplinary team at the proposal stage. Many of us had worked together on other projects, and what brought us together was the interest in STEM/CT and a desire to engage in research-practice partnerships to develop resources that addressed the strengths and needs of the diverse populations of families served in public preschool. I would be happy to talk more about our process. We are also working on a few manuscripts and I recently wrote a blog sharing some of the lessons learned over the years: https://digitalpromise.org/2020/02/06/co-designing-powerful-innovations-with-teachers-and-families/

     

  • May 11, 2020 | 11:24 p.m.

    Thank you for your work!  I hope you will publicize your finding that adults often did the decomposition of the problem themselves.  We found something similar with adults working with first and second graders in planning a play. The adults often did the planning in advance, before even being with the children.  They left the child with just the chance to implement the adults' plans. So the children didn't have the opportunity to learn to plan in this activity that was meant to be a planning task.  It's worth making this issue known.

    Baker-Sennett, J., Matusov, E.L., & Rogoff, B.  (2008).  Children’s planning of classroom plays with adult or child direction.  Social Development, 17, 998-1018.

  • Icon for: Ximena Dominguez

    Ximena Dominguez

    Lead Presenter
    Director of Early STEM Research
    May 12, 2020 | 12:08 a.m.

    Thank you for your note, Barbara, and for sharing your study! We are in midst of writing about these findings, so reading about your study will be very helpful. Thankfully, findings from our recent field study seem to suggest that adults are willing and able to facilitate children' decomposition, if reminded/guided to do so (and the importance of doing so). How to embed this into PD and curricular/learning materials themselves will be important to further investigate. I'd be interested to know if you have any suggested strategies based on your work/findings.

  • May 12, 2020 | 01:08 a.m.

    Thanks, Ximena.  We did not try to intervene with these adults.  However, we noticed that this tendency to do the planning before involving the kids was more characteristic of adults with less experience in teaching situations.

  • Icon for: Paul Bergeron

    Paul Bergeron

    Researcher
    May 5, 2020 | 05:13 p.m.

    It's awesome to see how this Scientific Practice is being implemented in at the pre-school level. We're doing similar work at the opposite end, trying to bring 3 dimensional learning from K12 to the college level (Creating a Coherent Gateway to STEM Teaching and Learning). Working with the members of our fellowship program, we've also engaged in co-design process to negotiate the Core Ideas in the different disciplines involved and for what 3D learning looks like in different classroom contexts. One thing we have found is that having a reinforcing curricula as well as top-down (e.g. department level) direction and resource support is very important in creating effective change that instructors can see in their classrooms.

    I'm curious what prompted you to consider CT, specifically for this age group? I have a colleague working on CT practices, but usually the focus of our fellows seems to be on the math component of this practice if not a different practice entirely.

     
    2
    Discussion is closed. Upvoting is no longer available

    Ximena Dominguez
    Shuchi Grover
  • Icon for: Shuchi Grover

    Shuchi Grover

    Co-Presenter
    May 6, 2020 | 12:10 p.m.

    Hi Paul-- thanks for your comments and insights on your work at the college level.
    Your question on our focus on the preschool age group is an interesting one - and takes us back to the genesis of this exploratory project! This work grew out of a couple of other ongoing/prior research experiences. Some in the project leadership (Ximena and Phil) had just completed a successful collaboration on the Next Generation Preschool Math and Next Generation Preschool Science projects, while others in the leadership (such as myself) were working on integrating CT into math and science at higher grades of K-12. Xime and Phil's experiences with early learners on the NGPM and NGPS projects (and the activities they designed for those projects) suggested that there was potentially fertile integration of CT into early STEM activities that we could explore. Interesting the HeadStart Early Learning Outcomes framework also points to teaching children problem solving and reasoning. All of this pointed to us coming together to explore if such mutually supportive integration between STEM concepts and CT could happen for our youngest learners in PreK, what productive entry points there are, and how these map to goals for early learners.

    And indeed, we did find many interesting entry points!

    We did make a point of designing a project that included teachers and care-givers throughout, as well as including home and school settings -- all to ensure that whatever we designed fits well into the natural lives of young learners..

    Hope this helps :)

     
    1
    Discussion is closed. Upvoting is no longer available

    Paul Bergeron
  • Icon for: Paul Bergeron

    Paul Bergeron

    Researcher
    May 11, 2020 | 03:45 p.m.

    Thanks for your response! I'll definitely be thinking more about CT and how it can be its own gateway to engaging in science.

  • Icon for: Jill Denner

    Jill Denner

    Senior Research Scientist
    May 5, 2020 | 05:14 p.m.

    Great to see the focus on CT with young children! I enjoyed learning a bit about your design process for creating activities that integrate into classes. Can you tell me how the families were involved in the design?

     
    2
    Discussion is closed. Upvoting is no longer available

    Ximena Dominguez
    Shuchi Grover
  • Icon for: Ximena Dominguez

    Ximena Dominguez

    Lead Presenter
    Director of Early STEM Research
    May 6, 2020 | 12:41 a.m.

    Thank you for your note, Jill. It's great to get so many encouraging messages about our early learning focus.

    Partner families were identified/invited through our partner preschool programs. These preschool centers served predominantly families from underserved communities and also included large proportions of families from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. We worked closely with them to recruit and select families that would represent this diversity.

    Participating family members were part of the co-design meetings, where everyone came together to engage in a series of design workshops. Our initial meetings involved discussing roles and highlighting the value that all perspectives bring to design. We purposefully brought imperfect "seed ideas" generated by researchers to discuss and discard or improve together. This helped everyone feel more comfortable brainstorming imperfect ideas for areas that are emerging in the field (e.g. as CT is in early learning). After prototypes were designed, families tested these activities at home and met with us to discuss revisions and iterations. 

    Does this help? I'd love to hear ideas of what has worked on your end when partnering with others to co-design.

     
    1
    Discussion is closed. Upvoting is no longer available

    Jill Denner
  • Icon for: DeLene Hoffner

    DeLene Hoffner

    Facilitator
    May 6, 2020 | 02:10 a.m.

    Thank you for your work on this project.  It's very exciting to have early childhood education represented in the Video Showcase.  I can imagine that working with parents can prove to be life altering for them in their approach to providing opportunities to practice the approaches you have mentioned in your project. How did you help parents shift their tendency to "solve the problem" or "give the answers" to problem decomposition?

     
    2
    Discussion is closed. Upvoting is no longer available

    Ximena Dominguez
    Shuchi Grover
  • Icon for: Tiffany Leones

    Tiffany Leones

    Co-Presenter
    May 6, 2020 | 11:21 p.m.

    Thank you for the note, DeLene. We are fortunate to work with teachers and parents, and often, we all learn a lot along the way. During our co-design work with teachers and parents, the team identified routines (e.g., getting ready for school, cooking recipes) as tasks that naturally lent themselves to be broken down into distinct sub-tasks (e.g., get dressed, eat breakfast, put on coat/shoes or mix water and flour, and then add vanilla). Building activities with playdough and blocks were also identified as good candidates to be tested during our pilot studies. While these common routines and activities were identified as good starting places to design decomposition tasks, teachers and parents also noted that many common routines are often decomposed by the adults and shared with children, as you suggest. For instance, teachers and parents would provide the steps to follow when getting ready for bed and making a dish. Therefore, as part of our design and iteration process, the goal became to identify routines and activities in which children could feasibly be invited to decompose themselves, with support from adults. Teachers and parents acknowledged this would be helpful for children, but did express skepticism regarding whether children would be able to do the decomposition themselves. During the pilot study, we found that children were indeed able to break larger problems or tasks into steps or subtasks. While children needed support from adults, they were excited and capable of engaging in the decomposition. With scaffolding, children decomposed the problems/tasks in various ways. They used picture cards to show the different components of a common routine (e.g., getting ready for bedtime) and made books to tell the story of the different subtasks involved in breaking down that routine. They also engaged in making art and playdough creations; for instance, they decomposed the steps to make a pretend pizza (e.g., make the dough, the sauce and the cheese, then put it all together). These activities provided opportunities for children and parents to engage together and allowed children to practice decomposing problems.

     
    2
    Discussion is closed. Upvoting is no longer available

    Pati Ruiz
    DeLene Hoffner
  • Icon for: DeLene Hoffner

    DeLene Hoffner

    Facilitator
    May 7, 2020 | 05:40 p.m.

    Thank you. 

  • Icon for: Stacey Forsyth

    Stacey Forsyth

    Facilitator
    May 6, 2020 | 11:49 a.m.

    I really enjoyed your video and seeing some specific examples of activities that engage young children in CT, such as the play-dough art and daily routine activities. I'm curious how you assess the development of CT skills in preschool age children - can you share a bit more about that? 

     
    2
    Discussion is closed. Upvoting is no longer available

    Ximena Dominguez
    Shuchi Grover
  • Icon for: Tiffany Leones

    Tiffany Leones

    Co-Presenter
    May 6, 2020 | 10:57 p.m.

    Thank you for taking the time to view our video and share your comments, Stacey. Our team worked on developing a series of developmentally appropriate assessment tasks – brief, playful, and hands-on – aimed to draw inferences on children’s learning of the target CT skills explored in this study – these included abstraction, problem decomposition, algorithmic thinking (sequences and repetition/loops) and debugging. We designed item formats suitable for young children (3-5 years old), which included selecting a response by pointing, indicating, or embodying a response; using hands-on manipulatives to demonstrate a response; providing an open-ended verbal responses to a picture prompt; and providing a verbal response to a verbal prompt (which was only done if necessary). For example, when targeting problem decomposition, items included a birthday party scene where children were asked to decompose the large task of planning a party into smaller, more manageable tasks or block building tasks where children were invited to break the problem and assign a task to the assessor and a task to themselves (in order to complete the task more efficiently). Some items that targeted abstraction involved sorting and labeling common materials for a purpose, such as colored blocks to build a tower or toy vehicles to place in a group based on observable characteristics. Our team just submitted a manuscript describing our process and sharing some emerging findings. We look forward to sharing it soon!

     
    2
    Discussion is closed. Upvoting is no longer available

    Stacey Forsyth
    Pati Ruiz
  • Icon for: Jessica Amsbary

    Jessica Amsbary

    Postdoctoral Research Scholar
    May 6, 2020 | 12:13 p.m.

    I love your video and all the work you have put into ensuring foundational CT skills for young children! It would be great to brainstorm with your team in the near future as we are in the early stages of developing some similar resources/activities at the STEM Innovation for Inclusion Center (STEMIE)...I do have a couple quick questions for you - have you thought about what CT might look like for even younger children (birth to three)? And has your team been able to accommodate the varying needs of preschool children with disabilities? Thanks again for your video - it is wonderful!

     
    1
    Discussion is closed. Upvoting is no longer available

    Shuchi Grover
  • Icon for: Ximena Dominguez

    Ximena Dominguez

    Lead Presenter
    Director of Early STEM Research
    May 7, 2020 | 08:07 a.m.

    Thank you, Jessica, for your kind words. These are excellent questions! I'd be happy to talk.

    We haven't done any CT work beyond preschool. But I know there is a lot of work and excitement about other STEM areas (e.g., science) during birth to three. I have a good colleague, Daryl Greenfield, who is working in this space and I'd be more than happy to connect you both. 

    Regarding children with disabilities, we haven't formally investigated this but in our overall design we consider UDL. Having said that I can see some of the activities that emerged may be very inclusive while others may pose challenges for children with motor or verbal disabilities. This would be a really direction for future work. 

     

  • Icon for: Jessica Amsbary

    Jessica Amsbary

    Postdoctoral Research Scholar
    May 7, 2020 | 10:53 a.m.

    Thanks for the helpful response, Ximena! Our project has connected with Daryl Greenfield - he is doing such amazing work related to early science learning and I think we will be seeking his expertise as we move forward. I'd love to talk further about your work/our work sometime in the coming weeks!

  • May 6, 2020 | 03:21 p.m.

    Great video! It is great to know developing these activities increased interest in science and math for such young students. I think the inclusion of an app was a great approach as well. What would you say was the biggest challenge in bringing all the different members of the team to work together (learning scientists, curriculum developers, media designers, preschool educators, and parents/caregivers).

  • Icon for: Ximena Dominguez

    Ximena Dominguez

    Lead Presenter
    Director of Early STEM Research
    May 8, 2020 | 12:41 a.m.

    Thank you, Christopher. That's our hope; that introducing math, science, CT on early will increase children's interest and engagement with STEM later on. The benefits go beyond that, I think. Math, science (and we are trying to investigate CT), when designed appropriately, provide a great opportunity for children to be playful and learn skills that will help them engage in learning more broadly. 

    Our study didn't measure interest but we did collect math, science and CT child learning outcomes, and we also conducted classroom observations. We are currently analyzing observational data and really look forward to sharing what we learn about children's engagement. 

    Your question is a great one; we have learned a lot about RPPs and continue to do so every time we engage in this work. I would say one of the biggest challenges are making sure everyone is working under the same assumptions regarding goals and getting the team to be comfortable enough with design tensions (which are inevitable). To tackle this first one, we have designed learning blueprints that articulate learning goals. Working and iterating on these as a team helps ensure we are all working under the same assumptions and toward the same goal. When tacking the second, we have that it's really key (and challenging) to create a space where everyone feels comfortable and safe sharing, but also willing and open to hearing other perspectives and change course as needed. Being able to meet in person and often helps and so does discussing roles and the unique expertise everyone brings to the table. What have you found most challenging? Are there any good lessons you've learned. We'd love to hear them. 

  • May 7, 2020 | 11:50 a.m.

    Hey nice to see you Xime, Danae, and Phil! Nice clear presentation of your project and I really appreciate how you have integrated the CT into classroom experiences and routines versus adding it on top of. And I especially love that you are taking CT in PreK beyond the typical coding activities and really diving into the practices that are foundational to and support science and math learning over the long-term. A team of us at EDC are doing a Grades 1 and 4 science curriculum with a CT focus... check out our video :) I really look forward to hearing more about your project and always nice to "see" you again!

     
    1
    Discussion is closed. Upvoting is no longer available

    Shuchi Grover
  • Icon for: Ximena Dominguez

    Ximena Dominguez

    Lead Presenter
    Director of Early STEM Research
    May 7, 2020 | 07:16 p.m.

    Cindy, always so nice to hear from you! I just watched your 1st grade science video and I loved it. It would be great to connect soon. For another project focused on 3D science in preschool, we have developed some units around shadows and I'd love to think about the alignment across preK, K and 1st grade. 

    Yes, the question about whether a broader set of CT skills are better align to the abilities and interests of young learners is a good one. I'd be interested to hear more about your project integrating CT with science in later grades. We explored both the connections with math and science and found the opportunities/synergies were different. We found connections with some of the science practices, regardless of disciplinary content. Have you found something similar? Or different?

  • May 8, 2020 | 03:11 p.m.

    Hi, Ximena! I'm working with Cindy on our science curriculum, and my primary charge is to struggle with just the very questions you've posed about CT. As a general guiding principle across several projects, we've taken an expansive view of CT, including aspects of data analysis, modeling, and systems thinking under the CT umbrella along with the ones you've outlined in your video. 

    In our earlier work, we came to the conclusion you allude to: that different disciplines offer stronger opportunities for different aspects of CT. Between mathematics and science, at least in the early grades, we found that mathematics is more naturally aligned with algorithmic thinking, programming, and debugging, while science more naturally aligned with modeling and data. Problem decomposition and abstraction could be seen in both disciplines but might look pretty different.

    In the early grades, for example, since mathematics is largely about learning how to operate on numbers, the connection to algorithmic thinking (and therefore programming) is pretty strong. Our colleagues Paul Goldenberg, June Mark, Kirsten Reed and others are leveraging this connection to revise the Think Math! Curriculum to use programming as an additional tool/language for deepening math concepts. Maya Israel, Diana Franklin, and colleagues are doing similar work.

    In science, data and modeling are so central, they each occupy their own practice in NGSS distinct from CT (despite our desire to keep them in the same tent). Digital models, for instance, have been finding their way into elementary science activities for quite a while. Our approach is to develop digital models that closely align with hands-on activities in the classroom (much as you describe in your video), and to explore how to help students make connections between what they do on screen as representative of real life phenomena (and not just a game world unto itself).

    Discussions around the purpose and use of models lead nicely into consideration of abstraction, though when it's best to introduce that term and the concept to young children is debatable for sure. We've chosen not to focus on making connections between designing and performing experiments and CT components related to problem decomposition, algorithmic thinking, and debugging. While they are related, the goals of designing an experiment and writing a program are quite different, so the processes for decomposing a problem, for instance, could look very different. It can get tricky for sure!

     
    1
    Discussion is closed. Upvoting is no longer available

    Shuchi Grover
  • Icon for: Marley Jarvis

    Marley Jarvis

    Outreach and Education Specialist
    May 7, 2020 | 03:30 p.m.

    Teaching how to scaffold is such an important goal. Could you talk more about how you try to do this? There's interesting research looking at the restraint required on behalf of the adult to not give the answer away. It can be really challenging, and requires use of executive function skills. Fortunately, these skills are malleable, which suggests that the more teachers and parents practice, the better their abilities to scaffold. Also, I love the ideas you all provide for integrating these skills into daily or at-home routines like getting ready for school. Are you considering any resources for parents?

     
    2
    Discussion is closed. Upvoting is no longer available

    Barbara Rogoff
    Shuchi Grover
  • Icon for: Ximena Dominguez

    Ximena Dominguez

    Lead Presenter
    Director of Early STEM Research
    May 7, 2020 | 07:24 p.m.

    Thank you for thoughtful questions, Marley. Yes, our work involved co-designing activities that families can do at home and we are planning to make those available publicly soon. We are also working on some video material to support parents as they engage in these kinds of activities. 

    You raise an excellent point. We, adults, often struggle letting children process and experience productive struggles themselves. What we found ultimately helpful was calling these challenges out explicitly and transparently in activity and lesson documents for educators and parents. And I have to admit that we weren't completely successful (our observation work indicates it was challenging still); in fact, this final stage of our work involves iterations to resources to address this very issue. We'd welcome any ideas you may have to share. 

  • Icon for: Marley Jarvis

    Marley Jarvis

    Outreach and Education Specialist
    May 7, 2020 | 08:00 p.m.

    I think it is certainly tough - and one that I haven't mastered, either! It's so tempting to snatch something away and do it yourself. I think you're right that calling out these challenges and making them explicit is a great place to start. In doing so, you are highlighting something that parents or educators might not even realize they are doing. Typically this is something that home visitors can be really helpful with. I wonder if you are able to collaborate with a home visiting program in some way? I've also found that parents (or teachers) might feel like they are trying to impress the observer, or show that their child can do the activity "correctly". By explicitly calling out this kind of scaffolding as beneficial, you can help counter and redirect that well-meaning (but ultimately not helpful) behavior. 

     
    1
    Discussion is closed. Upvoting is no longer available

    Shuchi Grover
  • Icon for: Ximena Dominguez

    Ximena Dominguez

    Lead Presenter
    Director of Early STEM Research
    May 7, 2020 | 09:12 p.m.

    That is a great idea, Marley. Home visitors are able to build rapport with families over time and this rapport builds the kind of trust that is necessary to discuss challenges openly. 

  • Icon for: DeLene Hoffner

    DeLene Hoffner

    Facilitator
    May 7, 2020 | 05:38 p.m.

    I work with 16 year old interns and find their parents also can take over the problem solving. (Missing the chance to build their child's CT)  I work at training parents to empower their children to think and plan the approach themselves.  It makes me wonder if they had the foundation in preschool as your project aims to do, if they would be more advanced in their Computational Thinking (CT) and capabilities built from a young age.  I'm impressed that your project really focuses on parents as well as the young learning.  This is a highly effective approach.  

     
    1
    Discussion is closed. Upvoting is no longer available

    Shuchi Grover
  • Icon for: Ximena Dominguez

    Ximena Dominguez

    Lead Presenter
    Director of Early STEM Research
    May 7, 2020 | 07:27 p.m.

    Thank you, DeLene! We've been really inspired by the parents/families. They really embraced the co-design process as time went by. Their involvement allowed us to think about what was feasible and meaningful from the very start.

  • Icon for: Mia Dubosarsky

    Mia Dubosarsky

    Director of Professional Development
    May 8, 2020 | 11:13 a.m.

    Very interesting project, thank you for sharing. 

    I wonder if there could be some collaboration opportunities with our Seeds of STEM curriculum. Specifically, embedding some of your developed (and tested) tasks within the Seeds of STEM units. I also wonder about the opportunity of your digital tasks to serve as a measure for children's understanding of problem solving skills (if this is something you have looked into). Here is a link to our Seeds of STEM video from the STEM for ALL 2019 showcase.: https://stemforall2019.videohall.com/presentations/1558
    Thanks!

     
    1
    Discussion is closed. Upvoting is no longer available

    Shuchi Grover
  • Icon for: Philip Vahey

    Philip Vahey

    Co-Presenter
    May 11, 2020 | 05:08 p.m.

    Hi Mia, I loved watching your video! We will be posting our activities soon--both key hands-on activities and our technology in the App stores. It will be great to discuss if/how our activities can fit into your existing project!

  • May 8, 2020 | 12:58 p.m.

    Such a great video!  I loved having a chance to check out the work this group is doing! It's great to see so much convergence in what you're finding and the results we're seeing on our CT projects with families and in preK classrooms.  I'd love for us to have a chance to pick each others brains on certain issues that we're all trying to crack. The big one I've been thinking about is how to make CT an approachable family-friendly concept without boiling it down too far that removes too much of the essence of thinking computationally. I'm sure your team has thought a lot about how CT is an approach that feels special and distinct from problem solving. So how do we effectively communicate that to parents and teachers in a way that doesn't feel like overload?

    Also great to see so many familiar, friendly faces. Hope all is well for the team!

     
    1
    Discussion is closed. Upvoting is no longer available

    Shuchi Grover
  • Icon for: Shuchi Grover

    Shuchi Grover

    Co-Presenter
    May 8, 2020 | 03:24 p.m.

    Thanks Heather for your kind words! Hope you and your team are doing well, as well!
    It is indeed wonderful to see all these videos that showcase our projects!
    I agree- it's great to see this various projects and approaches to introducing CT to young learners. Discovering common threads and common ideas reinforce our collective work!
    The idea of having families in the loop makes it powerful and more meaningful - many have commented on this as a particularly powerful aspect of working with students -- early learners, especially -- but also elementary aged children. Communicating these ideas to parents, care-givers and teachers in effective ways are things we are actively discussing and working on as we close this initial exploratory project and focus on dissemination and communication.

  • Icon for: Philip Vahey

    Philip Vahey

    Co-Presenter
    May 11, 2020 | 04:29 p.m.

    Hi Heather, good to see you! Yes, effective communication to parents and teachers is key. One aspect that we focus on is noticing how CT can relate to things that are already common (such as getting ready for bed) but adds the dimension of the child taking some ownership/responsibility (e.g. having the child propose the different tasks and the sequencing of the tasks, and discussing when the child's order may be problematic, such as putting "brushing teeth" before "bed time snack"). We would love to talk with you about what you are finding as well!

  • Icon for: Ximena Dominguez

    Ximena Dominguez

    Lead Presenter
    Director of Early STEM Research
    May 11, 2020 | 11:26 p.m.

    Hi, Heather! Thank you for watching and stopping by here. I watched your video as well. Very exciting to hear you all have similar findings. You've explored some CT skills and practices we haven't yet explored, so we are excited to learn from you all. I recently read your paper and found it very useful. We definitely need to try to re-schedule our meeting at WGBH.

    I think Shuchi and Phil already answered your question, but the one thing I'll add is that you raise an important question regarding the relation to problem solving. I do think CT offers strategies that ultimately help children problem solve and tackle challenges. I think linking it to problem solving is OK, as long as one discusses how CT includes unique problem solving strategies/approaches. This is, of course, challenging you do. Some of these CT skills/practices (in ECE  at least) are strongly linked to other STEM areas and disciplines (e.g., engineering). This is something we are hoping to continue working on; defining, providing examples, etc. We'd love to think more about that with your team. 

  • Icon for: Jeremy Roschelle

    Jeremy Roschelle

    Researcher
    May 8, 2020 | 01:41 p.m.

    Fun to see you all in this wonderful project video -- jeremy

     
    1
    Discussion is closed. Upvoting is no longer available

    Shuchi Grover
  • Icon for: Shuchi Grover

    Shuchi Grover

    Co-Presenter
    May 8, 2020 | 03:25 p.m.

    Sure is! Good to see familiar faces in the discussion as well :) Thanks for watching, Jeremy!

  • Icon for: Philip Vahey

    Philip Vahey

    Co-Presenter
    May 11, 2020 | 04:24 p.m.

    Yes Jeremy, good to see you too! Thanks for commenting!

  • Icon for: DeLene Hoffner

    DeLene Hoffner

    Facilitator
    May 9, 2020 | 12:27 a.m.

    Thank you for sharing your project and the wonderful work you have done.  What are you most proud of in your outcomes? 

  • Icon for: Ximena Dominguez

    Ximena Dominguez

    Lead Presenter
    Director of Early STEM Research
    May 11, 2020 | 11:30 p.m.

    That's a good question, DeLene. I think we're probably most proud of the partnerships that were formed to conduct this work and co-design resources. 

  • Icon for: Chris Mainhart

    Chris Mainhart

    K-12 Teacher
    May 9, 2020 | 10:06 p.m.

    What a great project. I can imagine that the students loved the experience.  I'd really like to know what the preschool teachers had to say about their experience.

  • Icon for: DeLene Hoffner

    DeLene Hoffner

    Facilitator
    May 10, 2020 | 11:43 p.m.

    I agree!  The concepts developed in this project seem very well designed to build the computational thinking of preschoolers.  I would also like to know what the teachers share about their involvement in this project. 

  • Icon for: Danae Kamdar

    Danae Kamdar

    Co-Presenter
    May 11, 2020 | 10:16 a.m.

    Chris and DeLene, thank you for your thoughtful questions about teacher engagement. As you note, we did observe enthusiasm amongst children as they explored the different activities and teachers shared similar observations -- we completed post-implementation interviews with teachers and overall they expressed having fun with the CT activities, and found that children in their classrooms were often engaged and interested. For instance, a set of activities that promoted abstraction included sorting different objects for multiple purposes, which teachers identified as successful/promising as children connected to skills they already know (sorting) and extended their learning (sorting and categorizing by different and more complex characteristics, for a given purpose). Teachers also reported that including everyday routines, like Getting Ready for School, was a helpful way to present tasks/problems, which was a familiar context that helped children to engage in learning about decomposition. Across all of the activities, teachers tended to modify lessons to meet the needs of their children and often to provide more time/opportunity to practice new concepts. In fact, most teachers expressed they would have benefitted from more time to introduce and engage in the lessons – sometimes spreading lessons across multiple days and other times to repeat lessons to provide more practice. In such cases, teachers pointed to particular algorithmic thinking activities focused on sequencing (providing/following directions) which they observed to sometimes be more challenging. Teachers also expressed wanting to continue implementing the CT activities,  and suggested providing more books, more activities and brief PD videos that could provide models of lessons. So, there is much more work to be done. And we are excited about that!

  • May 12, 2020 | 09:14 a.m.

    I really enjoyed your video. I especially noted the idea of enhancing what is already in the curriculum by developing and highlighting the possibilities for computational thinking. The research community has been calling for a learning experience that puts reasoning and problems solving front and center. One of the difficulties is in articulating what that means and having images of what it can look like in the classroom. The focus on CT makes some aspects of good reasoning and problem solving explicit and I think that helps adults recognize when they are doing too much and in so doing limiting the opportunities to develop planning and problem solving practices.  I think this work will have important impact not just on CT learning, but on the learning experience in general. I agree with Barbra Rogoff above, that it will be important to disseminate the findings about adults taking over the planning--and I also read above that your project has found some ways to mitigate this tendency so that the students gain those learning experiences.  Nice work!

  • Icon for: Ximena Dominguez

    Ximena Dominguez

    Lead Presenter
    Director of Early STEM Research
    May 12, 2020 | 04:26 p.m.

    Thank you, Traci, for your kind comments and for encouraging to share more about our findings around problem decomposition. We are very excited to publish these and other findings. We have submitted some scholarly publications and are also actively exploring other dissemination mechanisms to reach a more diverse audience. We welcome your recommendations!

  • Icon for: Karen North

    Karen North

    Informal Educator
    May 12, 2020 | 12:13 p.m.

    I have tried to get computational thinking integrated in the classroom for decades.  There still is a roadblock on time.  How are you changing that?  I think more librarians in schools could be the integration hub, what do you think?  See https://knorth.edublogs.org/algorithmic-thinking/ for a start to my research.  Thanks for keeping the digital promise alive.

     
    1
    Discussion is closed. Upvoting is no longer available

    Tiffany Leones
  • Icon for: Ximena Dominguez

    Ximena Dominguez

    Lead Presenter
    Director of Early STEM Research
    May 12, 2020 | 04:23 p.m.

    Hello, Karen. Yes, I think there are definitely challenges in terms of time/space in the curriculum/day. Our approach was to explore ways in which CT could be included/highlighted in what's already happening in preschool classrooms/homes and to explore the integration with math and science. We found there is potential for both of these approaches, but of course there are challenges as well. For instance, integration is complex. Designing activities that focus/weight both the math/science and the CT(rather than tackling it on) is not easy. We have made a lot of iterations to ensure this is the case and we are still working on it. 

    Thank you for sharing your site! You include so many useful resources (teachers find videos like the ones you include very helpful). And I agree that librarians and other educators in schools are often well positioned to promote integration across domains. It would be great to think about how these kinds of efforts could be embedded in school/system wide projects. Maybe we can chat about it in the future?

  • May 12, 2020 | 01:01 p.m.

    Thanks for sharing.  Developing curriculum for CT is crucial.  Your video made very clear the projects goals, research questions AND the theoretical constructs that you are operationalizing within the CT framework.  Looking forward to hearing more results on strategy, learning and ways that such a crucial skillset transfers to other disciplines and practices. 

  • Icon for: Ximena Dominguez

    Ximena Dominguez

    Lead Presenter
    Director of Early STEM Research
    May 12, 2020 | 04:14 p.m.

    Thank you for your kind words and encouragement, Michael. 

  • 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

    + Reply
     
    Mark this discussion post as helpful
  • Post to the Discussion

    If you have an account, please login before contributing. New visitors may post with email verification.


    For visitors, we require email verification before we will post your comment. When you receive the email click on the verification link and your message will be made visible.



    Name:

    Email:

    Role:
    NOTE: Your email will be kept private and will not be shared with any 3rd parties