Computational Thinking in Classrooms: A Study of a Professional Development for STEM Teachers in High Needs Schools
This study explores the influence of a professional development (PD) model aiming to build teacher capacities for K-12 schools. It examines the impact of this PD on teachers’ learning of content and pedagogical knowledge related to computational thinking. It also investigates the lessons learned during the implementation process.
This mixed-methods study examined 25 teachers who participated in the PD. The pre- and post-tests analysis showed positive outcomes of this PD in helping teachers learn CT skills. The thematic analysis of the qualitative data identified themes to answer the second, third and fourth research questions. Learner-centered approaches, differentiated learning, and unplugged activities were three main themes identified in teacher-created lesson plans.
Barr, V., & Stephenson, C. (2011). Bringing computational thinking to K-12: What is involved and what is the role of the computer science education community? Acm Inroads, 2(1), 48-54.
Blanchard, M. R., LePrevost, C. E., Tolin, A. D., & Gutierrez, K. S. (2016). Investigating technology-enhanced teacher professional development in rural, high-poverty middle schools. Educational Researcher, 45(3), 207-220.
Bower, M., & Falkner, K. (2015). Computational thinking, the notional machine, pre-service teachers, and research opportunities. Paper presented at the Proceedings of the 17th Australasian Computing Education Conference (ACE 2015).
Bower, M., Wood, L. N., Lai, J. W., Howe, C., Lister, R., Mason, R., Highfield, K., & Veal, J. (2017). Improving the computational thinking pedagogical capabilities of school teachers. Australian Journal of Teacher Education, 42(3), 4.
Creswell, J. W. (2014). Research design: Qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods approaches (4th ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
Czerkawski, B. C., & Lyman, E. W. (2015). Exploring issues about computational thinking in higher education. TechTrends, 59(2), 57-65.
Davis, B., Sumara, D., & Luce-Kapler, R. (2008). Engaging minds: Changing teaching in complex times (2nd ed.). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.
Desimone, L. M., & Garet, M. S. (2015). Best practices in teachers’ professional development in the United States. Psychology, Society and Education, 7(3), 252-263.
Fenwick, T. (2000). Expanding conceptions of experiential learning: A review of five contemporary perspectives. Adult Education Quarterly, 50(4), 243-272.
Ferguson, K. (2010). Inquiry Based Mathematics Instruction Versus Traditional Mathematics Instruction: The Effect on Student Unverstanding and Comprehension in an Eigth Grade Pre-Algebra Classroom. (Master), Cedarville University, Retrieved from https://digitalcommons.cedarville.edu/education_theses/26/
Gadanidis, G., Cendros, R., Floyd, L., & Namukasa, I. (2017). Computational thinking in mathematics teacher education. Contemporary Issues in Technology and Teacher Education, 17(4), 458-477.
Grover, S., & Pea, R. (2013). Computational thinking in K–12: A review of the state of the field. Educational Researcher, 42(1), 38-43. doi:10.3102/0013189X12463051
Israel, M., Pearson, J. N., Tapia, T., Wherfel, Q. M., & Reese, G. (2015). Supporting all learners in school-wide computational thinking: A cross-case qualitative analysis. Computers & Education, 82, 263-279.
Kell, M., Rupley, W., Nichols, J., Nichols, W., Paige, D., & Rasinski, T. (2016). Teachers’ Perceptions of Engagement and Effectiveness of School Community Partnerships: NASA’s Online STEM Professional Development. Journal of Studies in Education, 6(2), 1-23. doi:10.5296/jse.v6i2.9185
Li, Q. (2014). Learning Through Digital Game Design and Building in A Participatory Culture: An Enactivist Approach. New York, NY: Peter Lang.
Merleau-Ponty, M. (1964). The primacy of perception and other essays. Evanston, IL: Northwestern University Press.
Mouza, C. (2009). Does research-based professional development make a difference? A longitudinal investigation of teacher learning in technology integration. Teachers College Record, 111(5), 1195-1241.
Nardelli, E. (2019). Do we really need computational thinking? Communications of the ACM, 62(2), 32-35.
Oluk, A., & Korkmaz, O. (2016). Comparing Students' Scratch Skills with Their Computational Thinking Skills in Terms of Different Variables. International Journal of Modern Education and Computer Science, 8(11), 1-7. doi:10.5815/ijmecs.2016.11.01
Reid, D. (1995). The need to prove. (Ph. D doctoral dissertation), University of Alberta, Edmonton.
Stipek, D. J., Givvin, K. B., Salmon, J. M., & MacGyvers, V. L. (2001). Teachers’ beliefs and practices related to mathematics instruction. Teaching and Teacher Education, 17(2), 213-226.
Varela, F., Thompson, E., & Rosch, E. (1991). The embodied mind: Cognitive science and human experience. Cambridge, MA: Massachusetts Institute of Technology Press.
Voogt, J., Fisser, P., Good, J., Mishra, P., & Yadav, A. (2015). Computational thinking in compulsory education: Towards an agenda for research and practice. Education and Information Technologies, 20(4), 715-728. doi:10.1007/s10639-015-9412-6
Williams, H. (2017). No Fear Coding: Computational Thinking across the k-5 Curriculum. Arlington, VA: International Society for Technology in Education.
Yadav, A., Mayfield, C., Zhou, N., Hambrusch, S., & Korb, J. T. (2014). Computational thinking in elementary and secondary teacher education. ACM Transactions on Computing Education (TOCE), 14(1), 5.
Yadav, A., Stephenson, C., & Hong, H. (2017). Computational thinking for teacher education. Communications of the ACM, 60(4), 55-62.
Copyright (c) 2020 Qing Li, Laila Richman, Sarah Haines, Scot McNary
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.
Authors retain copyright and grant the journal right of first publication with the work simultaneously licensed under an International Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License (CC-BY-NC 4.0) that allows others to share the work for non-commercial purposes, with an acknowledgement of the work's authorship and initial publication in this journal.