Broadening Participation of Elementary Students and Teachers in Computer Science
Technology has become pervasive in society, and the need for computer science professionals continues to grow. Even young people who do not choose to pursue computer science must understand how to use and interact with technology. As students engage with technology earlier and earlier, their capacity for leveraging technology to help them solve problems needs to be supported as often as possible.
As part of a statewide effort to support the implementation of Massachusetts’ Digital Literacy and Computer Science Curriculum Framework, EDC has helped expand and strengthen the pathway to computer science education in Massachusetts through the Broadening Participation of Elementary School Teachers and Students in Computer Science through STEM Integration and Statewide Collaboration project. The goal of the project is to better prepare students to thrive in a technology-driven world.
Hand-in-hand with the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, project staff engaged in the following activities:
- Designed, developed, and tested 12 classroom modules that integrate computational thinking into science and mathematics units for grades 1–6
- Built elementary teachers’ capacity to integrate computational thinking into their own mathematics and science lessons
- Developed the Computational Thinking Ambassadors Program that integrated the work into the state’s educational infrastructure for standards and curriculum development, helping scale up capacity beyond the teachers directly involved in the project
- Produced a series of video-based support materials highlighting key activities that explain how to identify, enhance, and extend activities to promote students’ computational thinking
- Disseminated findings through journal publications and conference presentations to share important lessons learned and inform computer science education initiatives nationwide
- The project reached 60 teachers from 16 partner districts across Massachusetts.
- The Computational Thinking Ambassador Program introduced the materials to hundreds of teachers across the state.
- The project’s work is described in the article “Integrating Computational Thinking into Elementary Science Curriculum” and has influenced curriculum developers and professional development providers worldwide.
Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education