Spreading Computational Literacy Equitably via Integration of Computing in Preservice Teacher Preparation (NSF #1941642)

This project studies the effect of integrating computing into preservice teacher programs across grade bands and disciplines. The project explores how to connect computing concepts and integration activities to teachers' subject area knowledge and teaching practice, and which computing concepts are most valuable for general computational literacy.

Target Audience: 
All Grades; Preservice Teachers; Urban
STEM Discipline(s): 
All Disciplines, STEM
What Issue(s) in STEM Education is your Project Addressing?: 

The project broadens participation in computer science and computational thinking by preparing all preservice teachers at Georgia State University to integrate computing activities into their courses. The impact of preparing all teachers to use computing activities is that students receive exposure to multiple computing activities throughout preK-12 and understand how computing is used in all disciplines. Even if students do not pursue a job in computer science, they are better prepared to use computing solutions in their chosen profession and in their personal lives. Integrating computing activities also gives teachers new tools to teach within their discipline, and the computing activities are co-designed with teacher preparation faculty to ensure that they are authentic to the primary discipline. This project is unique because it is integrating computing activities across disciplines and grade bands simultaneously. In this context, researchers can explore which computing concepts and practices are universal and should be considered part of a general computational literacy, a topic that is debated on computing education researchers.

What are your Findings?: 

In our pilot work, we have found that early in the learning process teachers appreciate activities that also include a detailed lesson plan for how they can use it with students. More structured activities that come with a detailed lesson plans make teachers more comfortable to use the activities in student teaching or practicums. Once teachers use the activities with students, the enthusiasm of the students to engage with the activity makes the teachers motivated to continue to use the activity and to explore variations of the activity or other activities.

Lauren Margulieux