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A Whole-School Model for Integrating Computational Thinking in High School Science and Mathematics

Overview:

The project will investigate an innovative, school-wide approach to integrating computational thinking learning experiences in STEM courses in high school. This whole school approach is designed to reach all students via greater access to high quality computational thinking learning experiences in a variety of STEM courses. Integrated course activities will help students see how computer science is applied in mathematics and science. Students will use simulation tools to model science and mathematics concepts as well as data collection, visualization and analysis tools. The project will include collaboration with teachers in order to develop materials and examine their use with high school students. The project will also refine a framework that can be used by other projects to describe and define computational thinking. An important contribution of the study is investigating the number and type of experiences students need to have to learn about computational topics. In addition to classroom-based activities, students will also complete capstone challenge activities in partnership with industry professionals that will be presented at the end of the year in a state-wide showcase. Finally, resources for teacher professional development will be created for in-person and online, on-demand use. The STEM+Computing Partnership (STEM+C) program seeks to advance multidisciplinary integration of computing in STEM teaching and learning through applied research and development across one or more domains.
The project will carry out an integrated, interdisciplinary curriculum development and implementation effort at the school level. The project will conduct a design-based implementation research study of whole school design, development and use of resources for the integration of computational thinking with other STEM disciplines. This will allow for refinement of the whole-school model while investigating the challenges and opportunities for integrating computational thinking in high school STEM courses. The resources to be refined and designed include a library of computational thinking curriculum, professional development resources, and assessments of computational thinking. The study will also refine a taxonomy for computational thinking that characterizes the aspects of computational thinking important for students to learn and examines how they develop over time. In addition to examining the implementation of the curriculum, the research design includes a study of the number and type of experiences students need to have in order to learn computational thinking concepts. The data collected and analyzed include quantitative and qualitative information about students' learning and teachers' implementation.


PUBLICATIONS PRODUCED AS A RESULT OF THIS RESEARCH


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Swanson, H.. "Computational Thinking in the Science Classroom," International Conference on Computational Thinking Education 2017, 2017. 
Beheshti, E.. "Computational Thinking in Practice: How STEM Professionals Use CT in Their Work," American Education Research Association Annual Meeting 2017, 2017. 
Wagh, A. and Levy, S. and Horn, M.S. and Guo, Y. and Brady, C. and Wilensky, U.. "Anchor Code: Modularity as Evidence for Conceptual Learning and Computational Practices of Students Using a Code-First Environment," Computer Supported Collaborative Learning (CSCL), 2017.