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  1. Heather Lavigne
  2. http://cct.edc.org/people/lavigne-heather-0
  3. Research Scientist
  4. Presenter’s NSFRESOURCECENTERS
  5. Education Development Center
  1. Borgna Brunner
  2. Editorial Project Director
  3. Presenter’s NSFRESOURCECENTERS
  4. WGBH Educational Foundation
  1. Michelle Cerrone
  2. https://www.edc.org/staff/michelle-cerrone
  3. Senior Research Associate
  4. Presenter’s NSFRESOURCECENTERS
  5. Education Development Center, Center for Children and Technology
  1. Jillian Orr
  2. Executive Producer
  3. Presenter’s NSFRESOURCECENTERS
  4. WGBH Educational Foundation, WGBH
  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: 1814039

2021 (see original presentation & discussion)

Grades K-6

Media producers from WGBH and researchers from Education Development Center (EDC) have teamed up on Collaborative Research: The Development of Computational Literacy through the Integration of Computational Thinking and Early Language and Literacy Development in Urban Preschools.

The team is exploring preschooler’s computational literacy through the research and development of The Story Emporium – a new preschool program that integrates stories with computational thinking.

But why stories? Because children’s stories are full of repetitive, predictable story patterns – like the repeated running and chasing in The Gingerbread Man. Through The Story Emporium, children will learn to identify and use patterns like these to make their own stories, flexing their computational thinking skills along the way. Here’s how it works:

First, children and educators read a story together and use picture cards to break it down into elements, like characters, actions, objects, and consequences.

This past year, the team completed several rounds of formative research. Due to the pandemic, it was necessary to change our approach but we were still able to receive great feedback from teachers that has informed revisions, including how to best serve dual language learners/emergent bilingual students.

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Discussion from the 2021 STEM For All Video Showcase (19 posts)
  • Icon for: Heather Lavigne

    Heather Lavigne

    Lead Presenter
    Research Scientist
    May 10, 2021 | 04:06 p.m.

    Hello everyone; welcome to our video!  We are excited to hear your thoughts and questions around the integration of computational thinking (CT) into preschool literacy activities. If you have any questions about our project, please let us know. Also, please feel free to comment about any successes/challenges you see in your own related work or things that we can think through together in order to accomplish our goals of providing equitable teaching and learning around CT.

     
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    Discussion is closed. Upvoting is no longer available

    Kimberly Elliott
  • Icon for: DeLene Hoffner

    DeLene Hoffner

    Facilitator
    Lead Teacher
    May 11, 2021 | 12:37 a.m.

    I really enjoyed your video and project.  What were the most profound lessons you learned through your work? 

  • Icon for: Marisa Wolsky

    Marisa Wolsky

    Co-Presenter
    Executive Producer
    May 11, 2021 | 10:29 a.m.

    What’s been most profound for the project team has been our success in developing a new and innovative model for integrating CT into early preschool literacy activities, and the evidence that the model is promising. The use of stories with predictable patterns to promote CT skills is well-aligned with what is already happening in preschool classrooms. And, because reading books is a practice that teachers are already very comfortable with, they can build upon it with their students to promote CT. Children are also embracing the model, using CT skills such as problem decomposition, pattern recognition, and abstraction as they develop an understanding how a story can unfold in a predictable way.

     
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    Michelle Cerrone
    Kimberly Elliott
  • Icon for: DeLene Hoffner

    DeLene Hoffner

    Facilitator
    Lead Teacher
    May 11, 2021 | 03:49 p.m.

    I think you hit on a very essential idea, start where they are at... with many teachers,  reading books is a practice that they are already very comfortable with, I like your approach to build upon that comfort level to then expand it to promote CT.  Wonderful! 

     
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    Michelle Cerrone
    Kimberly Elliott
  • Icon for: Caitlin Martin

    Caitlin Martin

    Researcher
    May 11, 2021 | 01:59 p.m.

    I love this work and it is exciting that it is being formalized in a way that can be shared easily for preschools to incorporate in their practice. The American Library Association's Ready to Code initiative found very similar things, that library staff were very comfortable with and knowledgeable about early reading and working with little ones to find patterns in familiar stories, and that the kids and educators were excited to extend the storytime hours they were already doing with additional activities that dug into CT. Librarians Claudia Haines (Alaska) and Paula Langstrom (DC) have come up with some great activities in that area. Wondering there is a possible pre-school-library crossover!

     
    2
    Discussion is closed. Upvoting is no longer available

    Michelle Cerrone
    Kimberly Elliott
  • Icon for: DeLene Hoffner

    DeLene Hoffner

    Facilitator
    Lead Teacher
    May 11, 2021 | 03:50 p.m.

    Great wondering! I like that idea a lot. 

  • Icon for: Marisa Wolsky

    Marisa Wolsky

    Co-Presenter
    Executive Producer
    May 11, 2021 | 04:57 p.m.

    Thank you, Caitlin! We learned similar things on prior preschool CT library projects (described below, our newest one is in partnership with ALA's Ready to Code initiative and Claudia Haines is an advisor)! In fact, we referred to library staff as our CT Champions!

    With funding from NSF, GBH and EDC collaborated with the BUILD initiative (an organization that works with state systems, providing them with planning, support, technical assistance and evaluation services) to iteratively developed and tested CT programming and learning resources for preschool children and families via library and kindergarten readiness programs in two states. In Mississippi, we worked with Mississippi Public Broadcasting (MPB), the state Department of Education, and the state Library Commission to develop resources for family CT programming at libraries. In Maryland, we worked with Maryland Public Television (MPT) and Ready at Five (Maryland’s school readiness program, run through the Department of Education, Early Childhood Division) to develop resources for CT “Learning Parties”—multi-session, interactive, parent/child parties that promote parents’ education as well as young children’s development of school readiness skills. 

    With our current NSF-funded grant, EDC and GBH are developing a new library model, working in rural communities in Mississippi and Kentucky, with the aim of building librarians’ CT content knowledge and self-efficacy and enabling them to serve as both virtual and in-person CT mentors to families with young children. To support at-home CT exploration, we are creating a series of mobile apps that will guide families through sets of animated videos and hands-on activities, and a new, digital music video feature that will encourage families to reflect on their CT experiences. Dissemination partners include: Public Library Association, ALA’s Libraries Ready to Code, and the BUILD Initiative.

     
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    Michelle Cerrone
    Kimberly Elliott
    Myriam Steinback
  • Icon for: Caitlin Martin

    Caitlin Martin

    Researcher
    May 11, 2021 | 05:15 p.m.

    Wow, this is so amazing to hear! I was the evaluator for the Ready to Code work and this is thrilling that the work is expanding & connecting in this way, with Claudia advising no less. The preschool-CT connection/activities emerged as an unexpected focal theme in that project, something that energized and resonated with many of the library staff cohort across the country. The idea of learning parties is a great one. The video I am representing in this showcase is all about parents as learning partners. Thanks for sharing all this detail, Marisa! I will certainly continue to follow this work.

     
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    Discussion is closed. Upvoting is no longer available

    Michelle Cerrone
    Kimberly Elliott
  • Icon for: Marisa Wolsky

    Marisa Wolsky

    Co-Presenter
    Executive Producer
    May 11, 2021 | 05:38 p.m.

    I can't wait to see your video - sounds right up my alley! 

     

  • Icon for: Myriam Steinback

    Myriam Steinback

    Facilitator
    Independent Consultant
    May 11, 2021 | 10:50 p.m.

    What a lovely and worthwhile project! I wonder how exactly you are helping/supporting teachers and librarians with CT... Including parents with their children is wonderful.

     
    2
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    Candice Woods
    Kimberly Elliott
  • Icon for: Borgna Brunner

    Borgna Brunner

    Co-Presenter
    Editorial Project Director
    May 12, 2021 | 10:33 a.m.

    Thanks for your interest in the ways we’re supporting librarians and parents in engaging young children in CT!  You might be interested in our program featured in the 2019 STEM For All Video Showcase, Digital Media and Parent/Child Engagement Resources to Increase Preschool Computational Thinking.  For that program, we created a Library Guide with resources for introducing preschoolers and their families to computational thinking in six one-hour sessions.

     

     

     
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    Discussion is closed. Upvoting is no longer available

    Michelle Cerrone
    Kimberly Elliott
  • Icon for: Josie Melton

    Josie Melton

    Facilitator
    Post-Doctoral Researcher and Senior Instructor
    May 12, 2021 | 03:19 p.m.

    This is great!  I am curious about what types of supports preschool teachers needed to better understand CT.  Are there any tips you can share that helped the teachers support CT skills along with literacy skills?  Thanks for sharing this project.

     
    1
    Discussion is closed. Upvoting is no longer available

    Michelle Cerrone
  • Icon for: Borgna Brunner

    Borgna Brunner

    Co-Presenter
    Editorial Project Director
    May 12, 2021 | 06:59 p.m.

    Thanks for your question about preschool teacher supports—our effort to develop them has been one of most intriguing and challenging parts of this project!

    We’re still piloting the intervention, but so far the formative research has revealed a number of important questions from teachers: they’ve asked us to be more explicit about the educational and developmental benefits of learning CT in preschool, and they are especially interested in learning more about the connection between CT and early literacy skills. In response to the latter, we’re developing the following supports:     

    • A five-step model that walks teachers through The Story Emporium’s activities and illustrates the literacy and CT skills children would practice during each step. One teacher responded to an early version of the model by saying, “I think the materials make it easy for the five-step process to be understood. It’s basically a five-piece puzzle that can be used and reused with different books to help children understand the simple elements of literacy.”
    • A table illustrating the CT–literacy connection by describing an early literacy skill, the corresponding CT skill, and then how both come together in The Story Emporium activities. The table can also double as a way for teachers to assess student understanding by offering concrete examples of what preschool CT skills might look like.

    Here are the CT skills we’ve focused on and how we understand their relation to storytelling:

    • Decomposition: How a story can be broken down into story elements
    • Sequencing: How story elements follow a certain order
    • Pattern Recognition: How story elements repeat in a predictable way
    • Algorithmic Thinking: How to use the pattern (the step-by-step instructions, called the algorithm) to create a new version of the story by changing some of the elements
    • Logical Reasoning: How the story elements are connected to one another in a way that makes logical sense
    • Debugging: How to notice and correct a mistake in the story pattern

     

     
    2
    Discussion is closed. Upvoting is no longer available

    Josie Melton
    Michelle Cerrone
  • Icon for: Beth Daniels

    Beth Daniels

    Senior STEM Content and Education Manager
    May 13, 2021 | 03:49 p.m.

    This is fascinating! As a computer-science trained elementary educator, I can readily see the connections between storytelling and CT. These skills are so much more than just coding! In our project, we have integrated science and literacy, so I love seeing another connection between STEM and literacy. It's all about communicating and clarifying ideas. Thanks!

     
    1
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    Michelle Cerrone
  • Icon for: Borgna Brunner

    Borgna Brunner

    Co-Presenter
    Editorial Project Director
    May 14, 2021 | 10:35 a.m.

    Thanks for your insightful comments, Beth! I am a big fan of Hero Elementary and love your approach to combining STEM and literacy. And I'm amazed you were able to launch so successfully during the pandemic! What a feat. 

  • Icon for: DeLene Hoffner

    DeLene Hoffner

    Facilitator
    Lead Teacher
    May 13, 2021 | 09:41 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?

  • Icon for: Heather Lavigne

    Heather Lavigne

    Lead Presenter
    Research Scientist
    May 13, 2021 | 09:49 a.m.

    Hi DeLene!

    Thanks for keeping our discussion going!  Our project team is now preparing for a pilot study of The Story Emporium. Due to COVID-19, we made lots of adjustments to our formative research to collect valuable feedback from educators and experts but nothing can replace those wonderful opportunities to see students and educators in action.  Right now, we're working on data collection instruments and preparing assessments to help support an understanding of what children are learning from The Story Emporium. The content development team has also been working diligently to incorporate all of the feedback from our formative research into the materials that will be used for the pilot study.  We're so excited for this next phase of our work!

     
    2
    Discussion is closed. Upvoting is no longer available

    DeLene Hoffner
    Michelle Cerrone
  • Icon for: Candice Woods

    Candice Woods

    Manager, Development and Partnerships
    May 14, 2021 | 10:11 a.m.

    Great work! To echo previous comments, have you integrated caregivers into your pilot study and evaluation due to the pandemic?

  • Icon for: Heather Lavigne

    Heather Lavigne

    Lead Presenter
    Research Scientist
    May 14, 2021 | 01:08 p.m.

    Hi Candice! The pandemic definitely made us re-conceptualize our research. Originally, we intended to ask teachers to implement the activities and provide feedback to further inform design. During the spring and fall of 2020, we recruited teachers through social media to review the activity prototypes and the instructional support materials. We were so happy with the enthusiasm we received! Across both rounds of research, we had almost 70 teachers from across the US review the materials and provide feedback on their design, utility, and the extent to which the activities help support student learning goals. Teachers were able to participate by completing surveys and scheduling interviews around their own schedules. We also held Zoom meetings where we had think aloud sessions where teachers explored the digital app. While there's no true replacement for observing classrooms in action, these activities helped our team enormously in continuing to shape the direction of The Story Emporium. As for planning our upcoming pilot study, we'll be actively listening and learning from our education partners over the summer months to ensure that our plans for the pilot study are realistic for schools, teachers, and students.

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