1. Lien Diaz
  2. Director of Educational Innovation and Leadership
  3. Constellations Center
  4. http://constellations.gatech.edu/
  5. Constellations Center for Equity in Computing, Georgia Institute of Technology
  1. Allie McFadden
  2. https://www.linkedin.com/in/allie-blinder/
  3. Communications Officer
  4. Constellations Center
  5. http://constellations.gatech.edu/
  6. Constellations Center for Equity in Computing
Public Discussion
  • Icon for: Abby Funabiki

    Abby Funabiki

    Facilitator
    May 13, 2019 | 10:21 a.m.

    Fantastic program! I'm curious about the background of the Georgia Tech fellows teaching students. Do they have a background in industry, academics, computing, education, etc.? Does the regular classroom teacher help with classroom management and pedagogy (if the fellow lacks this background)? Thank you in advance for more info, Lien and Allie! 

     
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    Jared O'Leary
  • Icon for: Allie McFadden

    Allie McFadden

    Co-Presenter
    May 13, 2019 | 12:32 p.m.

    Hi Abby,

    Thanks for your questions! All of our fellows have an extensive teaching background with a minimum of seven years in the classroom. A few of them also have industry experience as product development engineers, management, and more. The regular classroom teacher does help with classroom management and pedagogy. It really is a team effort between the fellow and regular teacher, especially as the regular teacher becomes more comfortable with computing concepts. 

    If you want to learn more about our fellows' backgrounds, their bios are available here - http://constellations.gatech.edu/people

    Thanks! 

     
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    Abby Funabiki
  • Icon for: Abby Funabiki

    Abby Funabiki

    Facilitator
    May 14, 2019 | 12:25 p.m.

    I'm so glad teaching experience was an important part of recruiting your fellows! 

     
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    Jared O'Leary
  • Icon for: Jared O'Leary

    Jared O'Leary

    Researcher
    May 16, 2019 | 01:44 p.m.

    Excellent question and so happy to hear they have several years of classroom experience! 

     
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    Abby Funabiki
  • May 13, 2019 | 01:24 p.m.

    Beautiful video! Can you share how you built such a strong partnership with the schools and teachers?

  • Icon for: Lien Diaz

    Lien Diaz

    Lead Presenter
    May 14, 2019 | 10:44 a.m.

    Hi Jill! The short answer is the partnerships took months to fully establish and we are still working very hard to continue nurturing and strengthening those partnerships.

    The slightly less short story is that Georgia Tech acknowledged the lack of access with students in Atlanta Public Schools (APS), specifically, entering into the institute. In 2014, Georgia Tech initiated a scholarship program provided to the top students at every APS high school to attend Georgia Tech. With that program in place in the district, the Center was poised to initiate a concerted effort on computing education. We set up meetings over a period of 4-5 months with school administrators/stakeholders before we started working in classrooms. The Fellows then built a working relationship with not only the teachers, but also the principal(s), counselors and AP/curriculum coordinators. I do my best to visit schools and connect with leaders approximately once every 1-2 months. Building trust is vital in this work. A goal is to learn how to improve our approach and be even more effective. 

     
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    Jill Denner
  • May 13, 2019 | 02:38 p.m.

    Thank you for sharing your project. Constellation is very powerful! Can you talk more about your approach to computer science education in a way that promotes broader participation?

  • Icon for: Lien Diaz

    Lien Diaz

    Lead Presenter
    May 14, 2019 | 11:06 a.m.

    Hi Angela. We decided to approach our work in Atlanta Public Schools (APS) after having conducted an analysis of the state of CS ed in surrounding school systems in the Atlanta metro area. All but one system (that had 2 or more high schools) had at least 2 high schools that offered an AP CS course. That one system that did not was APS. We first decided that closing the gap to advanced CS course like AP CS Principles was important to get over the hurdle of students not having access by simply offering it. It is more complicated than that, of course, but for the purposes of replying to this question getting that course on the schedule in schools was a milestone. In terms of broader impact, the Center is researching the impact of a hybrid instructional model – relying on the content expertise from online courses while providing classroom based professional development, in-person workshop opportunities, and distant teacher support over a period of 1-3 years. The notion that teachers who are new or novices to computing can simply attend a 1-week summer PD session and be successful in the classroom can no longer be the norm. Because we’re asking teachers to teach something they’ve never taught, online courses don’t just solve the lack of access problem, they help alleviate the responsibility of the teacher from being the sole person with the content knowledge expertise. Our aim is to build teaching capacity with several modalities to support teacher development over a longer period of time. 

     
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    Abby Funabiki
  • Icon for: Marcia Quackenbush

    Marcia Quackenbush

    May 13, 2019 | 08:02 p.m.

    Beautiful video. Thanks for all of the student voices!

  • Icon for: Allie McFadden

    Allie McFadden

    Co-Presenter
    May 14, 2019 | 08:31 a.m.

    Thank you, Marcia. We love our students and wish we could have featured them all!

  • Icon for: Jim Hammerman

    Jim Hammerman

    Researcher
    May 13, 2019 | 10:14 p.m.

    Your approach of making an advanced computing course -- AP CS Principles -- available to students who might otherwise not have access to it is exciting. I'm curious how you support students earlier in the pipeline to be ready and confident to take that more advanced course?

  • Icon for: Lien Diaz

    Lien Diaz

    Lead Presenter
    May 14, 2019 | 11:22 a.m.

    Hi Jim. Great question! We grappled with this before beginning our implementation. This is something we are working to improve on.  Most of the students in the schools we’re partnering with have only had minimal exposure to computing and we’ve discussed initiating vertical alignment discussions with feeder schools in the upcoming year. The state of Georgia now has K-12 CS standards so leveraging that will be helpful. One suggestion we’re working on is to coordinate high school student visits with the feeder middle schools to share their CS projects and experiences in CS.  In many ways it makes sense to start the emphasis on CS in the early grades but at the same time we realized the gap between secondary and post-secondary CS was too large to ignore.

     
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    Abby Funabiki
  • Icon for: Clark M Merkley

    Clark M Merkley

    May 14, 2019 | 12:12 p.m.

    Great video showing student growth and confidence! I love it when I see students trying something new and something that seemed out of their reach for so long and finding joy and confidence in achievement. I am curious if you are actively involved with the teachers and administrators in recruiting more students to the CS classes? How often are the GaTech teachers in the classroom every week and is the intent to develop the teachers to be able to do this on their own?

    Great work,

    Clark

     
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    Abby Funabiki
  • Icon for: Allie McFadden

    Allie McFadden

    Co-Presenter
    May 15, 2019 | 11:35 a.m.

    Hi Clark,

    Thank you for your great feedback and questions. It has been so fun and rewarding to see our students break out of their comfort zones and discover new skills and passions. 

    We do help with student recruitment when needed, but the classes have been pretty popular where minimal, if any, recruiting has been necessary. 

    This academic year our fellows were in the classroom every day. They helped facilitate the course and train the teacher, as many of the teachers had no previous computing experience. This allowed the teachers to be trained on the new material over the course of the year rather than in a weekend PD workshop. Our intent is for the teachers to eventually be able to teach the course on their own. 

    We will be making some changes to that approach in the next school year. Each of the fellows works with 2-3 schools and will be in each school once a week. When they are not at a school, they will continue to work on creating new curriculum and modules for our hybrid instructional model and PD for educators. 

    Thanks again for your questions and for watching our video. We appreciate it! 

  • Icon for: Lisa Miller

    Lisa Miller

    Facilitator
    May 14, 2019 | 06:56 p.m.

    Thank you for sharing your video!  It's great to see the students excited about CS. Could you say a bit more about how the hybrid-instructional course the center is creating is different than the existing AP CSP curricula? Also, how many of the teachers who participated will teach AP CSP next year?  What kind of ongoing support will Constellations provide the teachers?

  • Icon for: Lien Diaz

    Lien Diaz

    Lead Presenter
    May 20, 2019 | 01:52 p.m.

    Hi Lisa, we're defining the hybrid-instructional model as 1) relying on an online CS course that engages students with meaningful learning experiences and that teachers are able to easily manage and 2) providing a longer runway for teachers to learn to facilitate the online CS course (i.e., throughout an academic year with daily/weekly support and not just in the summer). The online course can be one that is already developed and endorsed.  Based on the current public education systems we work in, we acknowledge that a teacher must be present in the classroom. What we are focused on is learning about the developmental, social, and cultural types of connections and support needed to increase a teacher's confidence and knowledge (a teacher who is new or is a novice to computing) to facilitate the online course. The Constellations Fellows serve as instructional coaches throughout the year. They co-plan and co-teach with teachers in the classroom sharing responsibilities for how students are engaged in lessons/activities. Our goal is for the teacher to take lead on instruction by the beginning of the second semester, relying less on the Fellow, but still supporting instruction as needed. 

    Next academic, the implementation model will intensify professional development with teachers. We'll meet with the in the summer, enroll them in an online CS course, and provide support for them to complete that course over a period of 3-4 months. We'll still provide classroom-based PD as well. 

  • Icon for: Quinn Burke

    Quinn Burke

    Facilitator
    May 14, 2019 | 07:18 p.m.

    thanks for sharing! well-crafted video focusing on the difficult and remarkably important work around inclusion in CS.  I want to second Lisa Miller's question about the hybrid-instructional course and what data Constellations is collecting in terms of fidelity of implementation around the PD?

  • Icon for: Lien Diaz

    Lien Diaz

    Lead Presenter
    May 20, 2019 | 01:59 p.m.

    Hi Quinn, We are collecting data focused on the Fellows' interactions with teachers and factors that have been successful and also to find areas for improvement. For example, teachers have shared (overwhelmingly) that they need more time to learn about the courses (CSP and CSA). We started working with teachers the day before school actually started last year. Needless to say the timing was not optimal. However this year, we are ensuring teachers have sufficient time to connect with the Fellows over the summer and they will be enrolled in an online CS course they can complete at their leisure, but also with continued support from the Fellows. We are considering ways to improve on our model so that teachers have as much time as we can carve out for teachers to learn about these course before they actually teach them. Overall, teachers were very grateful to have Fellows in their classroom. 

  • Icon for: Dianne Kirnes

    Dianne Kirnes

    Program Manager
    May 15, 2019 | 10:14 a.m.

    This program seems awesome!  It is so important to provide computer science and other STEM training opportunities for all students, especially underrepresented minorities.

  • Icon for: Allie McFadden

    Allie McFadden

    Co-Presenter
    May 15, 2019 | 11:37 a.m.

     

    Thank you, Dianne. We have seen so many positive results from the program already, including one student attending Georgia Tech next year! We are looking forward to year two! 

  • Icon for: Victoria Prince

    Victoria Prince

    Researcher
    May 17, 2019 | 09:20 p.m.

    Congratulations on a fantastic project and a great video.  You really captured the impact of this project on the students' education and lives.

  • Icon for: Allie McFadden

    Allie McFadden

    Co-Presenter
    May 20, 2019 | 08:10 a.m.

    Thank you, Victoria! We appreciate your positive feedback and encouragement. 

  • Icon for: Pauline Lake

    Pauline Lake

    Informal Educator
    May 18, 2019 | 08:10 a.m.

    Keep up the great work, Lien et al.! Your work continues to inspire me :) Hearing from the students in the video was great as well -- some of their stories seemed to fit with the strategies in our video.

  • Icon for: Lien Diaz

    Lien Diaz

    Lead Presenter
    May 20, 2019 | 02:00 p.m.

    Thanks, Pauline! Your video is also inspiring. So glad we continue to be in this together. :) 

  • Further posting is closed as the showcase has ended.