Many green pastures of research await us as CS education slowly tiptoes into K-12 classrooms. As researchers, how can we learn what research is most needed to address problems of practice that emergent K-12 teachers face when teaching CS?
Fellow education researchers, this one is for you.
Many green pastures of research await us as CS education slowly tiptoes into K-12 classrooms. As researchers, how can we learn what research is most needed to address problems of practice that emergent K-12 teachers face when teaching CS? How can we learn about the challenges administrators and others face when creating and maintaining an impactful CS education ecosystem?
Might I suggest the 2021 Computer Science Teachers Association Annual Conference?
This year’s conference will be held virtually again on July 14-16. There is still plenty of room for you to join the festivities and learn directly from K-12 teachers about their successes and challenges.
With over 100 sessions this year aimed at broadening your knowledge about K-12 CS education, you’ll also hear keynotes from Dr. Tim Bell, Zaretta Hammond, and Dr. Amy Ko, presenting topics pertinent to the changing needs of teachers as we move deeper into the 2020s.
You’ll also hear from teachers like Lily Ho Turula, a K-5 CS Teacher, Kristin Guynn, a middle school CS educator and curriculum designer, and Lisa Hauser, a High School Math Teacher & Code/Art First Follower. Topics that may be of interest to researchers include:
Integrated CS in 3rd-8th grade: Paige Besthoff will talk about how to bring stories to life by creating innovative storytelling experiences with Elementari. The example story coding projects can be implemented in English and language arts, social studies, science, and math classes. This includes ways to engage students to write and code stories based on their interests, debug and iterate, and finally publish and share their stories and games.
Math+CS in Middle School: Michael Herren will discuss BlocksCAD, an online block-based coding platform that allows students to create 3D models. This engaging program helped his students gain a better understanding of both geometry and computer science.
Self-Directed Learning in High School: Pamela Whitlock will discuss open-ended, standards-based projects for AP CSP, AP CS A, and upper-level, design-based programming courses. Pamela will discuss tips and tricks for realistic implementation of projects like these in the high school classroom. This approach allows for individualized learning, challenges top students without leaving behind struggling students, and most importantly, makes computer science fun.
If you’re like me, when you read these topics, your research-trained mind starts to wonder: What have the teachers learned about their students’ learning? How effective are these methods? Do some children learn better than others with these approaches? How can they be improved? Are there problems of practice (such as assessing student learning) that teachers are facing?
In other words, there is a treasure trove of potential research areas for researchers to consider – and you can hear first-hand from teachers what these areas are.
It’s not too late to register and attend the second virtual CSTA Conference.
P.S. For those who are fans like me, Felienne Hermans will also be presenting at the CSTA Conference about Hedy, a gradual programming language designed to help new learners understand programming. Felienne will explain the pedagogy behind Hedy and reflect on what we have learned about teaching programming with Hedy so far.