We are in year 2 of an NSF-funded project intended to improve and broaden participation in high school computer science courses. We are using a technology-enhanced PBL approach and are adopting the Computer Science Principles as our guiding curricular framework. (P.S. Our course is available here for free under a Creative Commons license). I have received the near-final copy of our course trailer today, and I’m really excited about it. Houndstooth Studio and Enspire Learning worked with us for this, and as you can see from the video below they have done a great job!
A few weeks ago, I mentioned Project Engage: Our approach to improve and broaden participation in computer science for high school students. We are using a technology-enhanced PBL approach and are adopting the Computer Science Principles as our guiding curricular framework. Rather than focusing on the teaching of a specific programming language, this course focuses on CS ideas, skills, and processes for students new to CS. We are nearing completion of our first module, and I thought that others might find our approach and work worthwhile so I am posting one of our artifacts here.
In this module students are tasked with the following problem: Leandro’s online identity has been stolen and used to cyberbully Chris. As a result, Leandro has been expelled from school. As Leandro’s friend, you must help convince the principal that Leandro is innocent. As a group, dig through the digital evidence available from the investigation, and create a compelling presentation to exonerate Leandro. Good luck!
As in other problem-based learning projects, we are using a video clip to introduce the problem that is intended to attract interest and curiosity. Here’s our beta product:
Part of my research demands that I develop technology-enhanced interventions in order to study them. I enjoy this part of my work partly because I get to create solutions to tackle education problems and partly because it has allowed me to explore technology-enhanced learning across different disciplines (e.g. I was involved with developing online learning environments for American Sign Language, environmental stewardship, and sociological concepts).
Now comes another excitement and challenge: Last August, Dr. Calvin Lin and I were awarded a National Science Foundation grant (award #1138506) to develop a hybrid “Introduction to Computer Science” course to be taught at Texas high schools and institutions of higher education. The project is a collaboration between the department of Computer Science (Dr. Lin) and Curriculum and Instruction – Instructional Technology (me). I’ll be posting more about the project (probably on a different blog), but the overarching goal here is to enhance how CS is taught using emerging technologies and pedagogies (mostly PBL) while valuing local contexts and practices. Mark Guzdial, in a recent paper, notes that “We need more education research that is informed by understanding CS—how it’s taught, what the current practices are, and what’s important to keep as we change practice. We need more computing education researchers to help meet the workforce needs in our technology-based society.”
I look forward to sharing more about this project with everyone soon!