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  1. Wendy Smith
  2. https://scimath.unl.edu/Wendy/
  3. Research Professor
  4. Presenter’s NSFRESOURCECENTERS
  5. University of Nebraska Lincoln
  1. Lindsay Augustyn
  2. Assistant Director and Communications Coordinator
  3. Presenter’s NSFRESOURCECENTERS
  4. University of Nebraska Lincoln
  1. Gwen Nugent
  2. Research Professor
  3. Presenter’s NSFRESOURCECENTERS
  4. University of Nebraska Lincoln
  1. Leen-Kiat Soh
  2. Professor
  3. Presenter’s NSFRESOURCECENTERS
  4. University of Nebraska Lincoln
  1. Guy Trainin
  2. https://cehs.unl.edu/tlte/faculty/guy-trainin/
  3. Professor and Chair
  4. Presenter’s NSFRESOURCECENTERS
  5. University of Nebraska Lincoln

Adapt, Implement and Research at Nebraska (AIR@NE)

NSF Awards: 1837476

2021 (see original presentation & discussion)

Grades K-6, Grades 6-8, Adult learners

The need for K-12 computer science instruction has become of great importance throughout the world as more and more career paths rely heavily on digital literacy. The Adapt, Implement and Research at Nebraska (AIR@NE) CSforAll project provides professional development and other supports to K-8 teachers for teaching computer science to their students. AIR@NE is a research-practitioner partnership built on the premise that the way to increase equitable participation and outcomes in computer science is to start with teaching ALL students computer science and computational thinking strategies starting in kindergarten. The AIR@NE partnership with the Lincoln Public Schools includes innovative computer science curriculum developed by the Lincoln Public Schools and now adapted for use by participants statewide. Data from cohort 1 (cohort 2 is underway) show strong improvements in teachers' knowledge and confidence related to teaching computer science, as well as significant improvements in student knowledge and attitudes. AIR@NE has developed and adapted instruments to measure teachers' and students' computer science knowledge and attitudes, along with observation and interview protocols. While it is too soon to see the longer-term outcomes of higher enrollment in high school and college computer science courses, positive shifts in students' attitudes are promising.

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Discussion from the 2021 STEM For All Video Showcase (18 posts)
  • Icon for: Leen-Kiat Soh

    Leen-Kiat Soh

    Co-Presenter
    Professor
    May 10, 2021 | 03:11 p.m.

    Hi, everybody, welcome to our showcase video.  I am one of the leaders of the AIR@NE project here in Nebraska. Our project is entering its third year.  The first two years worked with and supported two cohorts of teachers (> 50) across the state of Nebraska.  While our first year's summer institute was delivered in-person, on-site, our second year's was delivered entirely online, this past summer, due to the pandemic.  Our PD design also includes five Saturday workshops during the academic year.  If you have any questions at all about our project, please do not hesitate to reach out.

     
    1
    Discussion is closed. Upvoting is no longer available

    Catherine Horn
  • Icon for: Brian Drayton

    Brian Drayton

    Co-Director
    May 12, 2021 | 01:33 p.m.

    Hi, 

     I am interested in two different aspects of this program.  On the teacher side, what kinds of resources or structures are available in the teachers' schools to support their experiments with integration of new curriculum, and with continued learning (perhaps networked with other participants in the program)?

       On the student or curriculum side, what has to change in the pre-existing curriculum to make room for the CS/CT content and projects?

     

     
    1
    Discussion is closed. Upvoting is no longer available

    Catherine Horn
  • Icon for: Wendy Smith

    Wendy Smith

    Lead Presenter
    Research Professor
    May 12, 2021 | 01:40 p.m.

    Thanks for your questions, Brian. On the teacher side, our central partner district is the Lincoln Public Schools, which has won a national award for their CS curriculum. Teachers participating in AIR@NE get access to that curriculum and curricular materials, in addition to using some of the grant funding to purchase classroom robotics and other hardware. By working with the teachers in cohorts, we are trying to create professional communities around teaching computer science, to provide ongoing support for teachers. On the student side, most schools had time for "computers" in their schedule (rotations like music, art, PE, computers), and have replaced that with computer science time. Teachers in rural districts have had more flexibility with finding time to incorporate CS lessons each week.

     
    1
    Discussion is closed. Upvoting is no longer available

    Catherine Horn
  • Icon for: Catherine Horn

    Catherine Horn

    Facilitator
    Moores Professor and Chair
    May 12, 2021 | 03:08 p.m.

    Thanks for the introduction to the program! I especially appreciated getting to hear directly from a participant reflecting on the experience and its impacts. I am excited by what seems to an intentional effort to engage work at scale with this project, both in focus on K-8 and in addressing state-wide curriculum. I wonder if you could say more about how that looks like more practically in implementation. Are your participants coming from around the state? Are you partnering with state-agency stakeholders as part of this work? How are you including high school teachers/benchmarks as outcome goals as part of the effort? 

    Separately, I would also love to hear if you are connecting (or building a possible connection) between the graduate courses that participants are taking as part of this project and a formal certificate and/or possible subsequent masters degree. By presentation, that seems like a natural extension, but maybe I'm misunderstanding.

    Thanks for your work!

    Cathy 

  • Icon for: Leen-Kiat Soh

    Leen-Kiat Soh

    Co-Presenter
    Professor
    May 12, 2021 | 04:38 p.m.

    Hi Cathy, thank you for your interest and questions.  I will help answer some of your questions. (Hi Wendy, please correct me if I get these wrong!)

    1.  Yes, our participants are from around the state of Nebraska.  

    2.  We don't actually partner with state-agency stakeholders per se.  But we do work with school districts, ESUs, and we regularly keep state Department of Education informed. 

    3.  We are not including high school teachers/benchmarks as outcome goals.  But one of our master teachers is a high school teacher.

    4.  Yes, we are connecting the graduate courses with a K-12 supplemental endorsement in teaching IT.  We are also in the planning process of further strengthening such a connection with K-12 CS teaching endorsement

     

    Thanks,

     

    Leen-Kiat

  • Icon for: Catherine Horn

    Catherine Horn

    Facilitator
    Moores Professor and Chair
    May 12, 2021 | 05:15 p.m.

    Leen-Kiat - thanks for the answers and for the work! Can't wait to see what you all learn.

    Cathy

     

  • Icon for: Christine Royce

    Christine Royce

    Facilitator
    Professor
    May 12, 2021 | 04:32 p.m.

    Hi Wendy,

    Thanks for explaining the program!  The resources for and connections with the Lincoln Public Schools seems like a win-win for all involved.    I know that there where three cohorts discussed, can you describe how the teachers who participated were selected for the cohorts and if they were already incorporating computer science concepts into their curriculum or if this was new to them.  

    The team teaching of the college courses is also interesting to me - which college did this initially start in and could you explain what the initial reaction was for all of the faculty members?

  • Icon for: Wendy Smith

    Wendy Smith

    Lead Presenter
    Research Professor
    May 12, 2021 | 04:58 p.m.

    Christine--many but not all of the teachers who applied to our cohorts were already teaching CS, but some were going to start teaching CS  after the summer courses. With the applications, we worked with our school partners to review and accept them. We mostly were able to accept all applicants who were or would be teaching CS, who had the support of their school district to participate.

    The team teaching is something we have been doing in courses at UNL since at least 2000. We built the current project on the infrastructure of past math-science partnerships that had a model for summer courses for inservice teachers that created instructional teams of faculty, K-12 teachers, graduate students, etc. So, this wasn't something new; the Colleges of Education, Engineering, Arts and Sciences, and School of Natural Resources have all had classes with this format. Faculty members appreciate creating and co-teaching courses with K-12 teachers; it helps to draw connections between the graduate course content and teaching practices with the K-12 world.

  • Icon for: Christine Royce

    Christine Royce

    Facilitator
    Professor
    May 14, 2021 | 11:27 a.m.

    Wendy,

    2000 is amazing -- it sounds like the faculty have had a long term and productive collaboration.

  • Icon for: Jill Berg

    Jill Berg

    Facilitator
    Leadership Coach, School Improvement Consultant & Author
    May 12, 2021 | 07:09 p.m.

    Thanks for this great example of the power of research-practice partnerships!

    Researchers and practitioners bring distinct knowledge, experience and perspectives to the problem of designing CS units that meet the needs of each and every learner; their expertise is complementary, and this project maximizes this as an asset, by having them teach courses together.

    I’d be interested in hearing what researchers are learning from practitioners that they didn’t know before, and vice versa. 

     

  • Icon for: Wendy Smith

    Wendy Smith

    Lead Presenter
    Research Professor
    May 12, 2021 | 10:06 p.m.

    Our research team has learned so much from the practitioners. As one example, our CS pedagogy course development was really led by the practitioners who had been teaching CS K-12 for a number of years; no one on our PI team has taught CS at the K-8 level, so the practitioner partnership has been invaluable in developing that course and supporting the participants. One of the evolutions of our project has been the coding language we use in the CS course, moving from Python to Javascript; our practitioner partners were less familiar with Python, and we've all learned a lot by having two different languages to compare from the instructional team side. 

  • Icon for: Leen-Kiat Soh

    Leen-Kiat Soh

    Co-Presenter
    Professor
    May 13, 2021 | 09:12 a.m.

    Several additional things learned from the practitioners:

    1.  Design our courses in the summer such that CS and Computational thinking (CT) concepts learned in the morning are reinforced in the afternoon when pedagogy, resources, modules, etc. are taught.

    2.  Cater to teachers' different needs -- as teachers come from different school districts with varying demands, it is important to address them individually.  A lot of office hours during the summer workshop helped; listening and collecting their feedback helped; adjusting our workshops during the academic year helped.  

    3.  Be persistent.  Our research team would regularly follow up with teachers to do the classroom observation or collect required data.

  • Icon for: Raffaella Borasi

    Raffaella Borasi

    Higher Ed Faculty
    May 12, 2021 | 08:48 p.m.

    We are going to offer PD to K-8 teachers this summer to prepare them for the new New York State Computer Science and Digital Fluency standards - so I was especially interested in your program. 

    Do you have suggestions about valuable instructional resources for K-8 teachers teaching computer science topics?

    Do you have additional information about the PD you provided?

  • Icon for: Wendy Smith

    Wendy Smith

    Lead Presenter
    Research Professor
    May 12, 2021 | 10:09 p.m.

    Rafaella, our curriculum is built around code.org, but goes deeper since those lessons aren't enough to stretch into a full K-8 curriculum when students have regular CS courses. We use blockly and robotics heavily with the younger grades, but also focus on unplugged activities to teach concepts like conditionals, loops, functions, and sorting. We have aligned our efforts with the CSTA standards. Although our teacher participants are K-8, we also connect the material to high school (CSA/CSP) so the K-8 teachers can see where these concepts are going.

  • Icon for: Leen-Kiat Soh

    Leen-Kiat Soh

    Co-Presenter
    Professor
    May 13, 2021 | 09:20 a.m.

    Hi Raffaella, we would be happy to discuss via a Zoom meeting if you would like, so as to find out more specifically what you are looking for.  We do have our day-to-day schedules of topics for the 2-week summer workshop, and then the schedule of topics for each of the five Saturday workshops during the academic year.  We also have survey instruments that we use and observation rubrics.  

  • Icon for: Raffaella Borasi

    Raffaella Borasi

    Higher Ed Faculty
    May 13, 2021 | 10:52 a.m.

    Thank you, we would love to have a Zoom conversation. Let's connect via email to find a time - my email is rborasi@warner.rochester.edu

  • May 16, 2021 | 09:06 p.m.

    Thank you for your presentation.  I teach computer programming to students in grades 3-5.  In my district, we have a K-12 computational thinking pathway that begins with students using Scratch Jr. on iPads in K-2.  They also do some unplugged activities and program robots at that age.  Students are introduces to block based coding through Scratch in grades 3-5.   Students also program robots like Spheros, Hummingbirds, and Micro:Bits in their STEAM classes.  They learn 3D design using BlocksCAD.  We find that learning the logic behind the programming prior to the syntax of text programming languages gives students a strong foundation for when the switch to Python in 8th grade. In middle school they use app inventor as well.  By the time they get to high school, students interested in pursuing computer programming have the skills they need to be successful, and those who don't pursue computer programming have gained other computational thinking skills, habits of mind, and collaboration skills that help them to be successful in whatever track they choose.  I am wondering, what programming languages/programs do you use at the K-5 age?  Keep up the important work you are doing!

  • Icon for: Wendy Smith

    Wendy Smith

    Lead Presenter
    Research Professor
    May 17, 2021 | 08:51 a.m.

    Shad, like you, we use Scratch Jr. and Scratch in elementary grades, as well as Blockly. The curriculum uses code.org as a central feature, but builds onto that. All the elementary grades feature unplugged lessons and robotics. Teachers have a wide variety of robotics, but dash/dot for elementary and cue for middle level are there, as are ozobots, sphero, micro:bits. 

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