1532 Views
  1. Juana Moreno
  2. Associate Professor
  3. Presenter’s NSFRESOURCECENTERS
  4. Louisiana State University
  1. Fernando Alegre
  2. Research Associate
  3. Presenter’s NSFRESOURCECENTERS
  4. Louisiana State University
  1. Rose Kendrick
  2. Program Manager
  3. Presenter’s NSFRESOURCECENTERS
  4. Louisiana State University
  1. Jessica Moon
  2. Graduate Student
  3. Presenter’s NSFRESOURCECENTERS
  4. Louisiana State University
  1. Suzanne Navo
  2. District Grant Writer
  3. Presenter’s NSFRESOURCECENTERS
  4. East Baton Rouge Parish School System
  1. Ben Necaise
  2. Associate Superintendent
  3. Presenter’s NSFRESOURCECENTERS
  4. East Baton Rouge Parish School System

BRBytes: Baton Rouge: Bringing Youth Technology, Education, and Success

NSF Awards: 1923573

2021 (see original presentation & discussion)

Grades 6-8, Grades 9-12

BRBytes is a Researcher Practitioner Partnership between East Baton Rouge Parish School System and Louisiana State University, which was created to improve computer science (CS) education. In Louisiana, only 23% of high schools teach CS courses and very few teachers are trained in CS. To address these issues, BRBytes developed and implemented seven CS courses for 7-12th grade students. These courses combine computational thinking and mathematics skills. The program also hosts summer and monthly professional development meetings, which have trained over 70 new CS teachers in Louisiana. Currently, BRBytes curriculum is taught to over 2,000 middle and high school students in 14 parishes across the state. Of these students, 62% are underrepresented minorities and 61% are from economically disadvantaged backgrounds. In the 2021-22 academic year, BRBytes plans to expand its reach to more urban and rural schools, impacting more students from underrepresented minority and economically disadvantaged backgrounds. There are also plans to train at least 60 new CS teachers. In the long-term, BRBytes hopes to increase awareness of computing careers and the importance of equity in recruiting and advising students. The program also hopes to increase the number of minority CS teachers, encourage the use of culturally responsive pedagogy, increase student engagement in CS, and promote student awareness and aspirations towards computing careers. For more information about this program, please visit brbytes.org.

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Discussion from the 2021 STEM For All Video Showcase (16 posts)
  • Icon for: Juana Moreno

    Juana Moreno

    Lead Presenter
    Associate Professor
    May 10, 2021 | 09:53 p.m.

    Thank you for watching our video!


    One of our program's focuses is building a community of computer science teachers in Louisiana. Many of the teachers we train to teach the BRBytes courses do not have a background in computer science. Because of this, we are trying to build their skills through our annual summer training events and monthly community of practice meetings for professional development.



    • Our ultimate goal is to develop a community of computer science teachers who are proficient in the subject so they can truly teach students, rather than simply facilitating a course that is taught entirely through an online program. What recommendations or ideas do you have for how we can support the teachers and to help them support each other?


    Another main focus of ours is going beyond providing accessibility to computer science education.



    • We want all students to not only have the opportunity to take a computer science course, but to actually take at least one of these courses. What ideas have worked for you to spark student interest in computing courses and to have them see CS as a necessary part of the jobs of the future?

    • We also envision permanent integration of the BRBytes curriculum into middle and high school course offerings. There is currently no computer science graduation requirement in the state of Louisiana. What recommendations do you have for creating a systemic change that would permanently integrate the BRBytes pathway in the schools?

     
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    Discussion is closed. Upvoting is no longer available

    Kirstin Milks
    Bernard Yett
  • Icon for: Suzanne Navo

    Suzanne Navo

    Co-Presenter
    District Grant Writer
    May 10, 2021 | 10:13 p.m.

    Thanks for stopping by to view!! East Baton Rouge Parish School System (EBRPSS) and Louisiana State University (LSU) are bridging the gap in computer science and computational thinking education in Louisiana.

     
    1
    Discussion is closed. Upvoting is no longer available

    Sarah Haavind
  • Icon for: Kirstin Milks

    Kirstin Milks

    Facilitator
    Science Teacher
    May 11, 2021 | 12:13 p.m.

    Hi BRBytes team and collaborators! I'm so curious about how you built the teacher-training curriculum and teacher community for this project. I love how the teacher-participant featured in your presentation said they felt like they was part of a connected network of teachers; it allowed them to talk about teaching, but also about the new coding platform they was learning. Would you please tell us a little more about the design considerations that went into that learning experience - as well as maintaining the community throughout the year?

  • Icon for: Juana Moreno

    Juana Moreno

    Lead Presenter
    Associate Professor
    May 11, 2021 | 12:30 p.m.

    Thank you for watching our video! Almost all the teachers we train do not have any background in CS prior to attending our summer training. So, our training is pretty extensive. For example, the training for the Intro to Computational Thinking course Katy refers to is 24 days of instruction over 5 or 6 weeks. The teachers work together for a considerable amount of time during the summer. At the same time that they learn the curriculum and associated pedagogy they also get to know each other. During the school year we also have monthly Community of Practice meetings, where teachers discuss their current progress on the curriculum, issues they face and student successes.

     
    1
    Discussion is closed. Upvoting is no longer available

    Kirstin Milks
  • Icon for: Rosio Bugarin Pedroso

    Rosio Bugarin Pedroso

    Facilitator
    Principal
    May 11, 2021 | 02:40 p.m.

    Hi BRBytes team, I really like how this program focuses both on teachers and students.  I would like to know how much of an increase in enrollment for this pathway has happened since the program's inception.  Have you had a chance to track students' retention in the pathway? Similarly, what attitudinal, perceptual or educational changes have occurred for those who participate in the pathway regarding science, educational goals and other general goals?  

    Look forward to reading your response.

  • Icon for: Juana Moreno

    Juana Moreno

    Lead Presenter
    Associate Professor
    May 11, 2021 | 07:29 p.m.

    Thank you for your interest. We got two federal grants precisely to answer your questions. In particular we are interested in finding out whether the Algebra I scores of students taking one of our courses, Intro to Computational Thinking, concurrently with Algebra I improve or not.  We are also looking at the students' attitudes towards math and science and, in particular, computer science, changes in the student enrollment in STEM courses, and eventually choice of a STEM major or a STEM career.  About the growth of the program, three years ago we served 400 students, two years ago around 800, and this year a bit over 2,000. You can find an informal summary of our progress here: https://www.lsu.edu/research/news/2021/0405-brbytes-pathways.php. We have also published some preliminary results I will be happy to send to you. Please email me at info@brbytes.org.

     
    1
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    Kirstin Milks
  • Icon for: Sarah Haavind

    Sarah Haavind

    Facilitator
    Senior Research Project Manager
    May 11, 2021 | 10:39 p.m.

    Juana and team - congratulations on your growth each year! Thanks for sharing your work here. Clearly you are on to something and have been able to attract interest and commitment from teachers AND students in Louisiana. I'm actually curious what you would say to one of the questions you ask in your welcome posting Juana - What ideas have worked for you to spark student interest in computing courses and to have them see CS as a necessary part of the jobs of the future? 

  • Icon for: Juana Moreno

    Juana Moreno

    Lead Presenter
    Associate Professor
    May 12, 2021 | 08:15 a.m.

    Thank you for your encouragement! We posed the question about "spark student interest" to get ideas from others. This is a really difficult issue. Some activities in our curricula motivate some students but there is nothing "motivating" for every student. From our experience the biggest success comes from changing the teachers' understanding about technology, computer science, and the big opportunities in this area. We have also worked with teachers and their administrators on equity issues  and to convince them that every student is able to complete an introductory computing course. As Katy Ullrich says in the video, to convince everybody at the school that students are able to be creators of technology and not only consumers of it. 

     
    2
    Discussion is closed. Upvoting is no longer available

    Sarah Haavind
    Kirstin Milks
  • Icon for: April Bartnick

    April Bartnick

    K-12 Teacher
    May 12, 2021 | 01:34 p.m.

    Hi BRBytes! I think it's great that you are making STEM literacy and computing sciences accessible to all. Has your program been going long enough to get data on how many students continue with computer and/or STEM pathways in college or as a career choice?

  • Icon for: Juana Moreno

    Juana Moreno

    Lead Presenter
    Associate Professor
    May 12, 2021 | 01:46 p.m.

    Thank you for watching our video! We started tracking 9th-graders this academic year. Please, ask us in 3 more years.

     
    2
    Discussion is closed. Upvoting is no longer available

    Kirstin Milks
    Suzanne Navo
  • Icon for: Katie O'Hara

    Katie O'Hara

    Manager, Communications
    May 13, 2021 | 04:21 p.m.

    Hi BRBytes! What an engaging and important program this is. At Challenger Center, we know that hands-on activities are key to building self-efficacy in any topic students are interested in. Do you have any supporting activities that preface or continue the lessons that students are experiencing on the digital devices? If so, do you find that improves engagement and understanding?

  • Icon for: Fernando Alegre

    Fernando Alegre

    Co-Presenter
    Research Associate
    May 14, 2021 | 09:11 a.m.

    We have many hands-on activities, especially in the middle-school courses. The high school courses include hands-on activities as needed by the curricula. For example, students need to set up networks of Raspberry Pi's and program small bots and other devices. And the computer-based lessons are still built around students creating code in groups or in pairs, so I would not describe what they do as "experiencing a lesson" but rather as creating projects and performing tasks.

     
    2
    Discussion is closed. Upvoting is no longer available

    Kirstin Milks
    Suzanne Navo
  • Icon for: Kirstin Milks

    Kirstin Milks

    Facilitator
    Science Teacher
    May 15, 2021 | 05:23 p.m.

    Hi BRBytes team -- circling back to thank you for your video. It's inspiring me to deeply consider how to revise my curricula to incorporate (and make explicit) more CS principles :)

  • Icon for: Juana Moreno

    Juana Moreno

    Lead Presenter
    Associate Professor
    May 15, 2021 | 05:34 p.m.

    Thank you for your kind words.

  • May 18, 2021 | 10:20 a.m.

    Juana: Great description of the project.  Are you working with Baton Rouge to measure participation in the pathways over time?  I would love to discuss this with you in more detail if you are to understand how you are doing it and the challenges faced in that data collection and reporting process.  It relates to the work we are doing with ECEP.

  • Icon for: Juana Moreno

    Juana Moreno

    Lead Presenter
    Associate Professor
    May 18, 2021 | 10:44 a.m.

    Alan, I will love to discuss more with you. We have collected some preliminary data in previous years, but this is the first year when we are consistently collecting student data. Our plan is to track students until they graduate from high school. We are also very interested on the work ECEP does. I would like to know about successful strategies for CS Education advocacy. In fact, last year in collaboration with code.org and other Louisiana organizations we reached to the Louisiana Department of Education about promoting CS education in the state.

  • Further posting is closed as the event has ended.

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