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  1. Miranda Parker
  2. http://www.mirandacparker.com
  3. Postdoctoral Scholar
  4. Presenter’s NSFRESOURCECENTERS
  5. University of California Irvine
  1. Dana Saito Stehberger
  2. Research Specialist
  3. Presenter’s NSFRESOURCECENTERS
  4. University of California Irvine

Elementary Computing for All

NSF Awards: 1923136, U411C190092

2021 (see original presentation & discussion)

Grades K-6

Elementary Computing for All is a weekly Scratch-based curriculum for all elementary students to learn computational thinking, including these features:

  • Language integration: One-third of the children entering kindergarten in California speak another language at home, making the elementary school years critical for language and literacy development. The Elementary Computing for All curriculum builds in language support throughout all aspects of the lessons so that students develop literacy and computing skills simultaneously.
  • Structured inquiry: Inquiry-based learning can be powerful for computer science, but too much unstructured discovery with insufficient guidance can leave low-performing students floundering. Elementary Computing for All uses the proven “Use-Modify-Create” structured inquiry model so users from all backgrounds can thrive.
  • Promoting identity: With too few Latinos and African-Americans represented in computing fields, many young students don’t see the relevance for their lives. Students using the curriculum read stories about diverse computer scientists and code their own stories about their lives and communities, thus developing greater identification with computer science and interest in further study and careers.
  • Supporting teachers: Detailed lesson plans, notes, handouts, and slides make the curriculum broadly accessible for teachers. That, combined with a carefully developed professional development program, enables elementary school teachers of all backgrounds--not just specialists--to learn and implement the curriculum.

 

 

 

 

 

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Discussion from the 2021 STEM For All Video Showcase (28 posts)
  • Icon for: Miranda Parker

    Miranda Parker

    Lead Presenter
    Postdoctoral Scholar
    May 10, 2021 | 05:58 p.m.

    Hi all! Welcome to our video on the Elementary Computing for ALL project! You can find out more about the project here: http://www.elementarycomputingforall.org/


    My name is Miranda Parker, and I’m a postdoc working on this project with a fantastic team of teachers, administrators, PhD students, research scientists, professors, and evaluators at the University of California, Irvine, University of Chicago, Santa Ana Unified School District, and WestEd. 


    Feel free to post here with any comments or questions! We’d love to hear about what parts of this project appeal to you most, and we’re always happy to learn from others doing similar work or wanting to get involved!

  • Icon for: DeLene Hoffner

    DeLene Hoffner

    Facilitator
    Lead Teacher
    May 11, 2021 | 12:55 a.m.

    I really enjoyed your video and project.  I love how you connect to students' culture./ ethnicity and community in your curriculum design. What were the most profound lessons you learned through your work? 

  • Icon for: Sharin Jacob

    Sharin Jacob

    Graduate Student
    May 14, 2021 | 08:49 a.m.

    Hi DelLene,

    The most profound part of this project was seeing students build their computer science identities and how leveraging their out of school resources contributed to their CS learning. Students took their projects home and practiced computer science with their immediate families, extended families, peers, and community. Their parents also enrolled them in extra curricular opportunities, which helped level the playing field with students who already have access to these opportunities. Students also fund the ability to express themselves and their ideas to be really empowering, and thereby became active shapers of the discipline.

  • Icon for: Allison Master

    Allison Master

    Researcher
    May 11, 2021 | 01:57 p.m.

    Your curriculum and materials look so fun! In our research on children's motivation in computer science, we often find gender differences, even in elementary school. Did you find any gender differences in student identity before or after your project? 

  • Icon for: Sharin Jacob

    Sharin Jacob

    Graduate Student
    May 14, 2021 | 08:49 a.m.

    Hi Allison,

     

    In order to better address the gender gap in computer science, we examined the gender similarities and differences in regard to how children feel about computer science, how they approach it, and how they connect with it.  Semi-structured interviews of 18 student participants provided us with insight into their experiences with learning computer science. Our results indicate that positive feelings about computer science did not vary by gender. A variance was observed, however, in regard to self efficacy and identification with the discipline, with the girls displaying lower confidence and connection to computer science. Social influence and the early construction of gender norms shape how girls perceive both themselves and computer science. The observation of an equal level of interest and enjoyment found in programming, however, highlights the importance of early intervention programs that leverage the strengths and cater to the needs of the participating girls.

  • Icon for: DeLene Hoffner

    DeLene Hoffner

    Facilitator
    Lead Teacher
    May 11, 2021 | 03:33 p.m.

    DO any of you find gender bias in your hiring of staff?  I often see all women hired in elementary schools for example, or only men in the "computer lab".  I had one principal who made it is mission to have one male in each of the grade levels in this elementary school.  What are the trends in your school?

     
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    Discussion is closed. Upvoting is no longer available

    DeLene Hoffner
  • Icon for: Miranda Parker

    Miranda Parker

    Lead Presenter
    Postdoctoral Scholar
    May 12, 2021 | 06:34 p.m.

    Hi DeLene! This is a great question. The trends in the schools overall are slightly different than the trends in our program. This year we have 11 teachers, and all are women. But, we've had teachers who are men in the past, though always a minority. It's an interesting situation to be in since it's the opposite of computer science! I think we can definitely dig more into this question in future research. Thanks!

  • Icon for: Myriam Steinback

    Myriam Steinback

    Facilitator
    Independent Consultant
    May 11, 2021 | 11:16 p.m.

    Your project provides such a great opportunity for children to learn CS seamlessly! The cultural component that you include is key - students need to see role models that resemble them. You mention PD for teachers - I'm curious to hear more about that.

  • Icon for: Dana Saito Stehberger

    Dana Saito Stehberger

    Co-Presenter
    Research Specialist
    May 12, 2021 | 01:18 p.m.

    We have provided a summer PD for four years to introduce teachers to Scratch and to the curriculum. In the past, we have held face-to-face, one-week intensive PDs. Last summer, we held a virtual PD over 2 weeks and met 6 days for 90 minutes and we build our community with the Google Classroom and Slack environments. This year, we will create asynchronous 3-5 minute videos to cover essential professional development information and will schedule time for small groups to meet in real time to discuss projects that are being worked on. Myriam, perhaps you were asking about the content of the PDs, not the logistics, but it is interesting to look at various methods of providing support for elementary school classroom teachers who are new to Scratch and CT instruction. 

    We also meet with teachers once a month to create a community of support as implementation experiences and questions are shared. 

  • Icon for: Myriam Steinback

    Myriam Steinback

    Facilitator
    Independent Consultant
    May 12, 2021 | 01:24 p.m.

    Thank you, Dana. Your PD is comprehensive. Offering both face-to-face  and virtual asynchronous opportunities sounds great. While doing both, we had resisted the online, yet found that there were many affordances of the asynchronous online PD. For one, they were able to watch the videos we shared again and again (as opposed to one time in f2f); we also 'heard' from many more in the discussion forums than we were able to hear in f2f. I imagine that for teachers new to Scratch and CT instruction, being able to see and engage repeatedly online and also have the community of support, are great.

  • May 16, 2021 | 07:08 p.m.

    Hi, 

    In our project, the Maker Partnership, we mostly held f2f PD, but also had videos and lessons posted to an online portal. The teachers loved having access to the videos for their own learning, as well as for the students. We had hoped that they would use the online portal to share more practices and have discussions with each other, but that didn't happen much. Dana and Myriam, did either of your projects find successful strategies to foster that type of interaction?

  • Icon for: Dana Saito Stehberger

    Dana Saito Stehberger

    Co-Presenter
    Research Specialist
    May 16, 2021 | 08:33 p.m.

    Hi Cheri - We created a Slack line last summer as a means for teachers to communicate with each other. Slack is a communication platform that can be viewed as an app or on a website and is a common way for some companies to communicate in teams; teachers did not seem interested in spending time in chats or discussion boards about the curriculum after the summer PD.  Teachers did interact, respond, and ask questions on Slack during the PD, however, once school began, the Slack channel went silent. We meet with our teachers each month to share practices and discuss issues. That has been most successful for us. As we scale and the number of teachers teaching the curriculum increases, though, we will need to think of a different solution. For sure an FAQ page would be helpful, and perhaps a well-organized discussion board? Thanks for the question, Cheri.

  • May 12, 2021 | 08:41 a.m.

    Thank you for your presentation.  I teach technology literacy in grades 3-5.  I have been using the Creative Computing Curriculum and enhancing the lessons by having students connect their programming skills to content taught in their curriculum.  When I first started teaching Scratch, I wanted to ensure that my students were not creating "cookie-cutter" projects that all look the same, but over time, I have found that there needs to be a balance between non-structured and over-structured lessons.  Your curriculum seems to reach that balance. Would you agree? The activities look like fun and I especially like how you have incorporated computer pioneers into your lessons. Thank you, again!

  • Icon for: Dana Saito Stehberger

    Dana Saito Stehberger

    Co-Presenter
    Research Specialist
    May 12, 2021 | 01:24 p.m.

    Hi Shad! You have brought up one of the most prevalent curriculum tensions that I have found as I observe teachers implementing the curriculum. Some stick strictly to the 50-minute lessons, in which student projects all strongly resemble each other as they do not have much time to look around, edit sprites and backgrounds and experiment. Other teachers stretch the lessons, and, in turn, may not finish the curriculum by the end of the year, but projects are much more diverse and reflective of student individuality and creativity.  So, to answer your question, if teachers have the flexibility to provide students with extra tinker time to build their projects and to finish the curriculum, there is balance.  

     
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    Discussion is closed. Upvoting is no longer available

    Shad Wachter
  • Icon for: Taryn Kato

    Taryn Kato

    Marketing and Communications
    May 12, 2021 | 12:52 p.m.

    Hello! Thank you for sharing your wonderful presentation, I truly enjoyed learning about the ways in which your program is working to increase opportunities for CS exposure at such a young age. What I found most exciting was how your curriculum exposes students to ethnic and cultural diversity within the field and thus promotes a sense of identity. While our program works to expose underrepresented students with biotech opportunities at the high school and college level, it is so important to begin exposure and learning of these subjects/skills at the elementary level. Have you tracked your students after they matriculate past the 5th grade? If so, have you seen any trends in their educational success/interests? Your program is truly setting the foundation to allow students to successfully engage in this critical discipline–i'm excited to follow your ongoing work!

  • Icon for: Miranda Parker

    Miranda Parker

    Lead Presenter
    Postdoctoral Scholar
    May 12, 2021 | 06:37 p.m.

    Hi Taryn! Thanks for your comments! We don't currently track them into 5th grade or beyond. But! We are currently planning on expanding the project and will be piloting the next stage of this curriculum in 5th grade next year. We're also hoping to expand the program to K-3, to really make it "elementary" computing for all. This will help us track the progression of our students over time, but I think tracking their progress into middle school and beyond will be really interesting in the coming years, too! I'll see what we can do for that :)

  • Icon for: Jessica Moon

    Jessica Moon

    Graduate Student
    May 12, 2021 | 02:34 p.m.

    I love the idea of including education about a diverse set of computer science role models into your curriculum! That sounds like an amazing way to get students to see themselves doing CS now and in their future.

    Our program focuses on 7-12th grade CS curriculum, and as we expand we are hoping to eventually reach K-12. What recommendations do you have for planning curriculum for elementary-level students?

  • Icon for: Dana Saito Stehberger

    Dana Saito Stehberger

    Co-Presenter
    Research Specialist
    May 16, 2021 | 09:00 p.m.

    Hi Jessica! I read about the BRBytes project that you are working on and, similar to your 7-12 curriculum, we also face the challenge of creating effective CS/CT curriculum for teachers who do not have experience with computer science and computational thinking. One recommendation is for you to look at our curriculum and to use it and/or adapt it to meet your needs! :) As the core of our curriculum is the Creative Computing curriculum from MIT, it teaches important CT concepts. Our partners at the Canon Lab at the U of Chicago have developed strong scaffolding to support student understanding of the concepts. Our contribution at UC Irvine is to find ways to make the curriculum easier for teachers to teach and to make the content more accessible and engaging for multi-lingual students. Currently we are developing a 5th grade curriculum that will hopefully be ready to use next summer. As far as k-2 curriculum, Marina Bers has developed and shared accessible and straight-forward curriculum for Scratch Jr.  Let's keep in touch!

  • Icon for: Josie Melton

    Josie Melton

    Facilitator
    Post-Doctoral Researcher and Senior Instructor
    May 12, 2021 | 03:45 p.m.

    I also appreciate the way your project incorporates diverse CS role models into the curriculum.  It sounds like participants increase understanding of CS and improve their perception of the field, but I am also curious about outcomes around shifting student perceptions about who participates in CS specifically. Have you measured any impacts on stereotypes students hold before/after participating in the curriculum?

  • Icon for: Miranda Parker

    Miranda Parker

    Lead Presenter
    Postdoctoral Scholar
    May 12, 2021 | 06:47 p.m.

    Hi Josie! Super interesting question! So we give all students pre- and post- tests in computational thinking knowledge and computer science identity and attitudes, and we interview some students pre- and post- in those areas as well. From these data sources, we did see a significant increase in their positive perception of CS (such as with increased agreement with statements like, "I think I could be a good computer scientist one day.") We've recently changed our data collection tools, including using the Elementary School Coding Attitude Survey from Mason & Rich 2020 so we look forward to seeing how looking at identity and attitudes through this different lens will give us different perspectives of how the students are changing over time! I'll let some of my teammates chime in about what they've seen in their interviews, too.

  • Icon for: Josie Melton

    Josie Melton

    Facilitator
    Post-Doctoral Researcher and Senior Instructor
    May 15, 2021 | 12:58 a.m.

    This sounds very interesting - it sems like shifting student attitudes about who can do CS may be another positive outcome of your program.  Thanks for sharing!

  • Icon for: DeLene Hoffner

    DeLene Hoffner

    Facilitator
    Lead Teacher
    May 13, 2021 | 09:42 a.m.

    Bravo to all for this wonderful discussion! Thank you for viewing and adding your questions and expertise. Please share the STEM Showcase with others so they can participate in the discussion too. Let's get more educators involved in viewing these top projects. Voting and discussion ends on May 18th at 8PM EDT. (but viewing is open anytime) https://stemforall2021.videohall.com/

    For presenters, what are your next steps going forward?

     
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    Discussion is closed. Upvoting is no longer available

    DeLene Hoffner
  • Icon for: Dana Saito Stehberger

    Dana Saito Stehberger

    Co-Presenter
    Research Specialist
    May 13, 2021 | 01:31 p.m.

    Great question!  We continue to iterate the existing ACT 1 curriculum that is being taught in 4th grade classrooms based on teacher feedback and our observations. The district we are working in would like this curriculum to eventually be taught in all 35 fourth grade classrooms in the district. We are brainstorming strategies that will best support such a large number of teachers who are new to CS instruction. The hope is for the solution to be public, on our website, so that the support will be available to anyone who chooses to teach the curriculum.  In addition, we are in the process of developing an ACT 2 curriculum so students can continue to develop their creative coding skills in the fifth grade. 

  • Icon for: DeLene Hoffner

    DeLene Hoffner

    Facilitator
    Lead Teacher
    May 16, 2021 | 01:30 a.m.

    Thank you Dana!  

  • Small default profile

    Chloe Widner

    Undergraduate Student
    May 16, 2021 | 03:12 p.m.

    This curriculum is super cool, I love how you are promoting the world of computer science to a very diverse group of children and making it very inclusive. I wish I had the exposure to this skill when I was younger! I was wondering if this is a limited curriculum that is solely to introduce kids to the idea that they could do computer science, or if it is long term and helps children develop these skills over the course of years? 

  • Icon for: Miranda Parker

    Miranda Parker

    Lead Presenter
    Postdoctoral Scholar
    May 17, 2021 | 01:46 p.m.

    Hi Chloe! Thanks for your comments and question! Currently, the curriculum is only for 4th grade students. However, we're piloting a 5th grade curriculum in the fall and have plans to work on a K-2 curriculum starting the following year. We want to build up and on students' understanding of computer science and computational thinking in a sustainable way; we think this is one of the best ways to support and encourage our students long term!

  • Small default profile

    Maia Rocklin

    Undergraduate Student
    May 16, 2021 | 06:24 p.m.

    This is extremely interesting to hear about! It is fascinating that this curriculum can help children improve in computational skills and inspired many of them to want to continue being enrolled in computing classes in the future. I'm curious about how this course is presented to the children in a way that makes them so intrigued about the subject. I'm also wondering what other areas of development it may improve in the children who participate. 

  • Icon for: Miranda Parker

    Miranda Parker

    Lead Presenter
    Postdoctoral Scholar
    May 17, 2021 | 01:58 p.m.

    Hi Maia! Great question! I think this has changed somewhat between in-person classes and virtual learning. When students were in the classroom, our lessons were the time that they got to be on the computer! It was fun and exciting! Now, with virtual learning and being on the computer all the time for school, our lesson is just another thing to do on the computer. But, beyond those structural elements, our team has worked to build the curriculum to appeal to students in multiple ways. We allow the students creativity in their projects, with limitless opportunities to personalize and go beyond what is required. We provide role models that look like our students and topics that might be familiar to many of them, including a project on Dia de los Muertos. And, of course, there's always that sense of "I made this!" which draws them in and makes them want to make more fun things on Scratch :) As for areas of development, we're currently gathering data with our school district partners to analyze what effect this might have on standardized math or English scores. The pandemic has definitely pushed those analyses back, but we're certainly interested in seeing what we find when we dig into that data!

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