Icon for: Elizabeth Radday

ELIZABETH RADDAY

EdAdvance
Public Discussion
  • Icon for: Joseph Kern

    Joseph Kern

    Researcher
    May 13, 2019 | 01:13 a.m.

    I really like your strategy of embedding CS in non-CS courses to show its usefulness as a tool in a variety of science fields.  That is similar to the approach in our project (Agricultural Applications of Computer Science), where we have science/agriculture-related tasks that can be embedded in existing non-CS courses.  One big question that we've faced with the overwhelming majority of students having no prior programming experience, is how to prepare them to take on these challenges without having to derail their "real" content-area course while they learn programming fundamentals.  I'm curious how you approach this problem to make efficient use of the time that CS is "borrowing" from the science courses. 

     
    Mark this discussion post as helpful
  • Icon for: Elizabeth Radday

    Elizabeth Radday

    Lead Presenter
    May 14, 2019 | 01:01 p.m.

    We do our best to incorporate the CS and the science content at the same time.  For example, when teaching students about "remixing' and "modding" we do it in a unit on genetics.  The students access the Cat Genetics projects on Scratch and therefore as they learn about the CS they are doing it in the context of learning about genetics.  The students play around with remixing the Scratch Cat Genetics program but also need to understand the science behind heredity in order to make the program accurately breed two cats to make a kitten.  Sometimes we do hear from teachers that they will lose science content time in order to teach the CS.  To this we usually talk about how learning and using the CS with the science content allows the students to go deeper into the science content and thus they get a deeper depth and less breadth of science in general and we think that the deep dive is just as valuable (if not more so) than "covering" a wider range of topics. Another example from the science/CS content is: Students are challenged to use Pencil Code to Construct a model that describes and illustrates how the release or absorption of energy from a chemical reaction occurs in a commonly used product.  Eventually they start using Python and can make models of photosynthesis using code.  We try to make the CS connect to their content as much as possible.  

     

    + Reply
     
    Mark this discussion post as helpful
  • Icon for: Gillian Puttick

    Gillian Puttick

    Facilitator
    May 13, 2019 | 10:53 a.m.

    Integrating CS and one discipline, let alone across multiple disciplines each with its own discipline-specific discourse, is challenging  - so kudos to the project team for taking on this ambitious task.  I'm curious about how you're measuring impact. Could you say a bit more about student outcomes?

     
    Mark this discussion post as helpful
  • Icon for: Elizabeth Radday

    Elizabeth Radday

    Lead Presenter
    May 14, 2019 | 01:04 p.m.

    That is a great question. Measuring the impact of a program such as ours is complex. The primary reason for this is that our students have great freedom to pursue a project that they are passionate about. At the end of the year the students are presenting a team project that addresses a real world problem and solves it using science and CS.  The students make apps, websites, prototypes with arduinos, etc.  This increased student voice and choice leads to a variety of unique student projects, making a one-size fits all measurement plan impractical. While our research partners do collect information about student motivation, engagement, STEM career, and college interest and computational thinking skills, the most accurate measure of student work is in the products they produce. Those products are then judged, using our Judges App, by industry professionals.  We look at what the students bring to our end of year Expo Fest as one way to see what CS/science skills and content they learned and surveys help us learn about student beliefs/engagement, etc.  

    + Reply
     
    Mark this discussion post as helpful
  • Icon for: Deanna Privette

    Deanna Privette

    i3 STEM Grant Coordinator
    May 13, 2019 | 02:36 p.m.

    I too like the idea of integrating CS in Non-CS courses.  How open were teachers to integrating?  Do you have, or are you looking at student outcomes when integrating CS in Non-CS courses? Additionally, the video discussed a school that offers extended learning to girls.  I'm curious to know what kind of recruiting techniques are utilized to get girls to join?

    Thanks for sharing your work!

     
    Mark this discussion post as helpful
  • Icon for: Elizabeth Radday

    Elizabeth Radday

    Lead Presenter
    May 14, 2019 | 01:14 p.m.

    We had some teachers really eager to start integrating CS into their science courses.  Many were hesitant because of their own lack of CS skills and were scared of trying to teach something they were still learning and were not yet comfortable doing on their own.  We are in Year 2 of this study so we should have some data at the end of the year on student engagement, interest, motivation, etc and seeing the final student products at the end of the year also lets us know about what the students learned throughout the year.  

     

    As for your question about girls, I asked the teacher in the video about recruitment and he had some great insights so I'm just going to quote him.  

    In the first year I used email and school announcements to spread the word to physics students, and in the second year asked all science and math teachers to mention the project in their classes.  Also in the second year, the first year's team did much of the recruiting.   I think in the first year the message was key.  I took some advice from a group of educators who had researched exactly this problem several years ago (how to get girls into coding and technology classes).   They found that the biggest draw for young women as opposed to young men was that their work could help someone (doesn't make us guys look too good, does it?).   So, I emphasized that aspect of the project.  In addition, I made clear that this would be a team exercise (so the girls knew there would be moral and technical support along the way, they wouldn't ever feel alone facing a problem), and that they needed no prior knowledge of, or experience with, coding.   I also tried to make clear that we would need people with different skill sets, not just science and math.   Finally, I included the fact that there would be a competition (because I knew some girls would like that), but that we would have plenty of time to prepare for it (because I knew some girls might be afraid of competition, at first).   Here was the first message I sent out: "We have been offered a chance to participate in a new program. Our goal will be to develop a mobile app that helps people, and/or helps our community  ....  (T)he main goal is to produce an App that will help people. I am looking for young women enrolled in Physics this year who would like to be part of the team we are forming. YOU DON'T HAVE TO KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT COMPUTERS OR CODING, you simply need a desire to help people, to learn, and to be part of a team. The team will need people who are good at science and/or math, people with artistic and design skills, people who are good at or interested in marketing, and people who have leadership and organizational skills. The final project will be presented at "Expo Fest" in May (see the link, or watch the video, below)."   By the way, although I started recruiting from Physics classes, we got girls from my other classes and girls who were not my students at all.  I think that's important.   Now, I was lucky, in that the core team of five girls the first year took ownership of the project, and recruited many more girls for the second year. (I also now have a second team, this one all guys).  Many of them are athletes (possibly the ones who are attracted to competition?), but many are not.  We have a few artists, which has really helped.  The goal is to make the team self-sustaining over the years, with older, experienced girls recruiting and mentoring younger girls.  One way to do this is to let the girls run things themselves, which is what I do.   For example, the first thing we did was brainstorm ideas for the app.  I provided two suggestions, then asked the girls to come up with several others.  They ended up proposing and choosing an app, aimed at their peer group, which I would not have come up with on my own.  I think this set the tone that this was their project, not mine.  (This can be a delicate line to walk, however, and there may well be a future year when there are no strong leaders in the team and I will have to step in more often.)
     
    Mark this discussion post as helpful
  • Icon for: Joseph Kern

    Joseph Kern

    Researcher
    May 15, 2019 | 11:15 p.m.

    Your successful recruiting based on targeting students' existing interests (that happen to be helped by CS) matches research that shows that students, especially females, are much more likely to be interested in CS when they see how it benefits some bigger non-CS topic that they are already interested in.  Nice to see that in action. 

    + Reply
     
    Mark this discussion post as helpful
  • May 14, 2019 | 06:01 p.m.

    Great video showing the benefits of infusing CS into all science disciplines! I really loved the girls coding club as a way to expose an underrepresented group to this important field! There is certainly a need for more professional development in the areas of coding and computer science for science teachers!

    + Reply
     
    Mark this discussion post as helpful
  • Icon for: Matt Fisher

    Matt Fisher

    Facilitator
    May 14, 2019 | 10:39 p.m.

    Similar to some of the other comments, I'm also really impressed at the way the project has integrated CS into other STEM courses. The video mentioned that teachers were often learning alongside the students. I would be interested in hearing more about this aspect - how teachers reacted to being in that position, were there any strategies the team found particularly useful in supporting teachers in their learning, are there any suggestions the team can share about how to support teachers in a situation like this?

    + Reply
     
    Mark this discussion post as helpful
  • Icon for: Ed Geary

    Ed Geary

    Higher Ed Faculty
    May 15, 2019 | 11:27 a.m.

    I really like your model for integrating CS into other STEM courses and  your work with both students and inservice teachers. Do you also have suggestions for the preparation of future mathematics and science teachers with regards to CS learning?  For example, what types of courses and/or curricular experiences would you recommend for biology or chemistry or mathematics preservice teachers-- to introduce them to CS concepts, practices, and resources and give them a solid foundation in CS so that they feel comfortable and confident integrating CS activities and learning into their courses? 

     
    Mark this discussion post as helpful
  • Icon for: Matt Fisher

    Matt Fisher

    Facilitator
    May 15, 2019 | 11:51 a.m.

    Ed, I'll be interested to see the response to your question. But I think part of it will require those of us in disciplines like chemistry and biology to start incorporating CS related activities and ideas in the courses we teach for preservice teachers (and other populations). Another part will be conversations between faculty in chemistry/biology and CS to ensure that we are all "on the same page."

     
    Mark this discussion post as helpful
  • Icon for: Joseph Kern

    Joseph Kern

    Researcher
    May 15, 2019 | 11:20 p.m.

    Yes, definitely institutional change.  Let's hope that some of the people in preservice teacher prep are on here looking at the "Transparent Soil" project to see examples and "Sustainable CS for Districts" to see how to develop it with faculty buy-in.

     
    Mark this discussion post as helpful
  • Icon for: Ed Geary

    Ed Geary

    Higher Ed Faculty
    May 16, 2019 | 09:41 a.m.

    Our NextGen STEM teacher preparation project in Washington State is looking at integrating sustainability concepts and practices into numerous facets of our science and mathematics education courses and programs, along with CS and Engineering... for both elementary and secondary educators. So examples like this are very helpful.

     
    Mark this discussion post as helpful
  • Icon for: Elizabeth Radday

    Elizabeth Radday

    Lead Presenter
    May 16, 2019 | 02:01 p.m.

    Our project is in Connecticut and the state just last year passed state standards for Computer Science.  Currently I am working with a group to create a state plan for Computer Science and one huge component of that plan is teacher certification and pathways to certification.  In thinking about Computer Science with some partners from higher ed we are encouraging these schools in CT to include computer science education into their elementary and secondary ed programs.  Many teachers have also been interested in learning about computer science and programming  like Mobile CSP have been a great way for teachers without CS experience to jump on board.  Mobile CSP and Code.org offer some really practical professional development and we have been relying on those programs to help get teachers up to speed on their coding knowledge until higher ed and the state catch up.  

     

    + Reply
     
    Mark this discussion post as helpful
  • Icon for: Peg Cagle

    Peg Cagle

    Facilitator
    May 16, 2019 | 04:35 a.m.

    I will echo what others have noted about the impressive reach of integration of CS into non-CS disciplinary courses. I also want to applaud the focus on increased diversity in CS and the multi-dimensional approach to solutions including both in school and after school components. I am curious how the EdAdvance 20 year legacy of challenge-based education is informing the work of this current project, and what metrics are being used to measure impact(s).

    + Reply
     
    Mark this discussion post as helpful
  • Icon for: Elizabeth Radday

    Elizabeth Radday

    Lead Presenter
    May 17, 2019 | 08:56 a.m.

    In two weeks EdAdvance is hosting its 17th Challenge Based learning Expo Fest.  Students will share their products, services and other innovations with panels of expert judges in different categories including NGSS science, entrepreneurship, engineering, STEM+CS, technology, and digital media.  Over the years we have done a lot of research around what makes these projects have an impact on both students learning and student motivation.  Integrating these projects into mainstream classes and working on them for an entire year has some important impacts and we've learned several things.  First, by putting the projects into mainstream classes we are getting to a much wider population than if we just put these projects in electives or in classes that are tracked or labeled honors.  In fact, these projects tend to impact the non-honors kids more because the honors students usually elect to take AP classes by sophomore year and AP teachers do not (or say they cannot) integrate this type of learning into their classes because the pressure is on to cover an extreme amount of content.  They have no time to incorporate challenge based learning.  (Seems counterintuitive, right?) To get CS in the hands and classes of more students we knew that putting it into mainstream science courses that students need to take to fulfill graduation requirements we would hit a larger segment of the population, many of whom would not usually elect to take a CS class.  The hope is that this exposure to CS in the context of science will encourage them to take a CS course.  We also know that students feel very invested in their challenge projects because they go so deep into them and work on them over the course of several months.  They really get to know the science or content behind the project and their learning becomes natural because they are doing the investigating to solve their problems, not because the teacher tells them.  We've also found that our particular challenge gets students that may not have much interest in science or STEM at all to still be engaged because there are so many facets of the project.  A STEM+CS project that comes to compete at our Expo Fest has several deliverables to the competition.  Besides the prototype of the innovation (an app, a product, etc) the project needs a full developed website with written documentation of the research and lab reports.  The team needs to create a marketing plan and develops a social media presence for their project.  Teams are required to reach out to a mentor with expertise in some aspect of their project.  At Expo the students give a 3-5 minute "Shark Tank" like Live Pitch to a panel of judges.  They also design and run a trade-show type booth at Expo Fest . This means that students that are great writers may work on the website and are engaged in that part of the project.  Great public speakers and presenters work on their pitch.  Technically savvy students work on back end design of the website.  Creative types design a logo and work on the social media campaign.  This project naturally lets students play to their strengths.  Of course all students are involved in the science and CS aspects of the class, but when it gets time to really dig deep into the project the students have voice and choice in their roles and we know that is very important.  We measure impact in a few ways.  First we look deeply at the projects and documentation students bring to Expo to see how deep they went with their learning.  Students also complete some surveys that get at their development of 21st Century skills based on an Octoskills survey from Europe.  We also have a STEM career/college interest survey that we use.  

    + Reply
     
    Mark this discussion post as helpful
  • Post to the Discussion

    If you have an account, please login before contributing. New visitors may post with email verification.


    For visitors, we require email verification before we will post your comment. When you receive the email click on the verification link and your message will be made visible.



    Name:

    Email:

    Role:
    NOTE: Your email will be kept private and will not be shared with any 3rd parties


Presenters’ Choice

Only presenters for this year’s event may vote for Presenter’s Choice. Presenters, please login to cast your 4 Presenter’s Choice votes.

Guests can vote for the Public Choice: Vote For This Video.


 

Public Choice: Vote For This Video

How would you like to vote?