Icon for: Kevin Waterman

KEVIN WATERMAN

Education Development Center (EDC)
Public Discussion
  • Icon for: Gerad OShea

    Gerad OShea

    Facilitator
    May 13, 2019 | 04:58 p.m.

    Thanks for sharing your work, and this great example of student interaction!

    Can you share a few of the challenges you identified for teachers implementing these modules in different learning settings and successful strategies that were used to overcome these challenges?

    Best,

    Gerad

  • Icon for: Kevin Waterman

    Kevin Waterman

    Lead Presenter
    May 14, 2019 | 04:17 a.m.

    Thanks, Gerad.

    As you can imagine, elementary classrooms had different levels of access to technology. We needed to develop different strategies for  how to provide students with experiences that leveraged computational thinking even in situations where students were not directly engaging with the technology.

    We developed the units to include a range of activities, from "unplugged" activities (such as written algorithms that other students need to follow, or physically acting out a model, as shown in the video) to teacher-led demonstrations (such as the data exploration from the video, which some teachers actually had students do themselves in small teams using Chromebooks). So the materials themselves had options for teachers to adjust the lessons based on their learning settings.

  • Icon for: Zen Borys

    Zen Borys

    Researcher
    May 13, 2019 | 11:33 p.m.

    Yes, thanks for sharing -- it looks like a rich activity!  Also, it looks like an activity with a lot of moving parts.  Can you describe the types of support teachers needed in order to design their lessons?  

  • Icon for: Kevin Waterman

    Kevin Waterman

    Lead Presenter
    May 14, 2019 | 04:27 a.m.

    The project developed the curriculum units to include extensive teacher support materials for the activities. The initial cohort of teachers in the project worked with us in identifying and drafting some of the units, and we had a professional development workshop with them to dive deeply into what computational thinking was, how to identify and promote it within existing lessons, and what kind of outside resources existed that promoted it.

    We provided professional development to teacher teams in later cohorts for how to implement the lessons in their classes (including the underlying science and mathematics), and how to identify and talk about the computational thinking concepts within the activities.

    The CT Integration Handbook website is an output from the project that provides an ongoing resource for teachers to help identify opportunities and design their own lessons that promote CT.

  • Icon for: Feng Liu

    Feng Liu

    Facilitator
    May 14, 2019 | 04:23 p.m.

    Thanks for sharing this interesting work! I would like to know more about the evaluation of program impact. Could you share more information about the instrument used to measure the outcome of interest, student computational thinking (CT) skills? Other than student CT skills, did you look at other outcomes such as student content knowledge in science and mathematics?

  • Icon for: Kevin Waterman

    Kevin Waterman

    Lead Presenter
    May 16, 2019 | 03:03 p.m.

    Thanks, Feng.

    Our project was primarily a development project geared toward providing support to teachers for understanding and identify activities where they could integrate or boost computational thinking. As such, the research wasn't designed to do a rigorous study of student outcomes. What we will have by the close of the project are case studies of teachers that include how their understanding has evolved, what steps they are now taking (or will take) to promote CT, and their assessment of how the activities moved the needle with their students, both in terms of CT and the underlying discipline (feedback from the different cohorts to this point has been positive).

    Hampering any rigorous study of CT skills is the fact that there aren't any instruments that measure CT except as a part of a coding activity. Since our focus was not on doing that coding, it is difficult for us to envision how we would measure CT skills in isolation (much like it's difficult to measure the science or mathematical practices from NGSS and CCSS in isolation). It would make for some very interesting work to try to do so, perhaps dovetailing on the work in process that is addressing CT through programming-based assessments.

  • Icon for: Feng Liu

    Feng Liu

    Facilitator
    May 18, 2019 | 09:45 p.m.

    Thanks for the detailed explanation, Kevin!

  • Icon for: Nancy McGowan

    Nancy McGowan

    Facilitator
    May 15, 2019 | 10:38 p.m.

    Using the "Oh Deer!" game as a means of collecting data was perfect! Student explanations and the ability to make meaningful connections were clear.  You have taken a very difficult abstract concept and placed it in a context that allows the students to relate.  Great work!

  • Icon for: Kevin Waterman

    Kevin Waterman

    Lead Presenter
    May 16, 2019 | 03:05 p.m.

    Thank you, Nancy! It helps to have started from an activity with such a rich background. I, along with colleagues here at EDC, continue to mull over ways to expand (and explode) the activity to allow for a stronger connection to how habitats operate as well as give students more of a chance to identify their own rules and perhaps even build out their own computer models, even at an early age. So many things to think about!

  • Icon for: Ari Krakowski

    Ari Krakowski

    Researcher
    May 16, 2019 | 10:14 a.m.

    Hi Kevin, the populations model is such a great example of integrating CT concepts with science concepts! I'm curious how you approached the design of the modules, in terms of which science concepts to address, as well as which CS/CT concepts. 

    Thanks for sharing your work!

  • Icon for: Kevin Waterman

    Kevin Waterman

    Lead Presenter
    May 16, 2019 | 03:25 p.m.

    The project began by having small teacher teams (around 5) look at model curriculum units that the state of MA had developed under a Race to the Top grant. About half of the modules ultimately available have those as their basis, with the teacher teams working in tandem with subject matter experts at EDC. Other modules were either built from scratch by the teacher team (and refined and filled out by our curriculum developers) or written entirely in house.

    In this project, our goal (at the start, at least) was to look at existing units and see how we could shore up or expand connections to CT. In that regard, we tried to ground ourselves in the kinds of activities teachers would be working with already--with the goal of identifying what kinds of activities are ripe to integrate CT.

    As we progressed, some of the activities we produced from scratch started with CT integration in mind from the start (several of the mathematics modules are like that). We are also working on a new project that is revising an old curriculum (Insights), and doing sort of a mixture of the two processes: we are starting from existing materials, but we are looking at where a CT-rich activity might fit and then recreating a lesson (or sequence) to more tightly integrate it.

  • Further posting is closed as the showcase has ended.