1. Meghan Welch
  2. Post Doctoral Research Associate
  3. The iCS Project: Integrated Computer Science in Elementary Curricula
  4. http://ics4kids.org/
  5. Georgia State University, Georgia Institute of Technology, ISTE
  1. Kathleen Fritz
  2. http://www.creatomsetgo.com
  3. Founder
  4. The iCS Project: Integrated Computer Science in Elementary Curricula
  5. http://ics4kids.org/
  6. Georgia State University, CREATOMbuilder
  1. Alison Shelton
  2. The iCS Project: Integrated Computer Science in Elementary Curricula
  3. http://ics4kids.org/
  4. Centennial Academy
  1. Chris Thompson
  2. The iCS Project: Integrated Computer Science in Elementary Curricula
  3. http://ics4kids.org/
  4. Georgia Institute of Technology - CEISMC
Public Discussion
  • Icon for: Kathleen Fritz

    Kathleen Fritz

    Co-Presenter
    May 15, 2017 | 08:46 a.m.

    The iCS project provided a great opportunity to develop a working PBL framework for implementing computational thinking across plugged and unplugged technology.  Working for the last 2 1/2 years as the PBL in Design Thinking Coach from CREATOMbuilder, with the 3rd-5th grade Centennial Academy team, CEISMC and GSU,  the pilot project supported the entire school in leveraging computer technology across all grades and across all curriculum.  

    Excited to hear your iCS grant experience.

    Kathy Fritz

     
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  • Icon for: Tami LaFleur

    Tami LaFleur

    Facilitator
    May 15, 2017 | 09:43 a.m.

    Leveraging computer technology is a huge concern for society and schools today. The students in your video say it all! Specifically, how is access leveraged? Do the students 'own' the technology? Do they have access at home, too? I am also wondering who designed the projects that are being used for the student learning... I love the quote, "Teachers are giving up control."                   

     
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  • Icon for: Meghan Welch

    Meghan Welch

    Presenter
    May 15, 2017 | 10:56 a.m.

    Hi Tami -- thanks for your comment. 

    From talking to the teachers, the "access" at home varies across different classes and students. In addition to being a Title I school, they also serve students from 3 nearby shelters. That being said, individual students don't bring their chrome books home, but I would guess that most have some sort of minimal access at home. I know that the school makes a conscious effort to give the students more access outside of class time through the media center and even during school breaks (what they call "Intercession) and I think that while the students are in the building, you are right, the feeling of owning technology and and the teachers' giving up control has been talked about and reflected upon as a intentional part of the project. 

    As for design of the projects, the teachers have been central in integrating academic content (State standards) and computer science concepts/computational thinking into the work. They are supported, this year, by a school PBL Core Team composed of other teachers/admin in the school as the entire school (K-8) has implemented Project Based Learning. Kathy Fritz (co-presenter) and Chris Thompson (co-presenter) have been available for support and coaching as our NSF project has monthly meetings with the 3rd-5th teachers. Where in years 1 and 2 Fritz and Thompson definitely facilitated more of the design process, this year, the teachers and the core team have had more autonomy and our NSF team has been available for consult and "tweaking."   

     
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  • Icon for: Tami LaFleur

    Tami LaFleur

    Facilitator
    May 15, 2017 | 09:36 p.m.

    Thank you, Meghan. So important to support the teachers with the technology, too!

    Where do the PBL project ideas come from? Do these teachers follow a curriculum or design the tasks on their own?

     
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  • Icon for: Dale McCreedy

    Dale McCreedy

    Facilitator
    May 16, 2017 | 10:38 p.m.

    Yes - interested to hear about where the projects come from and also if there are established criteria for what counts as a 'PBL'. We found with after school facilitators that we worked with that there was a set of expectations about what a PBL was that was communicated from 'above' but it was not aligned with what we were thinking about supporting in our PD efforts, and thus it took us awhile to figure this out and then to come to some consensus about what  a PBL in the after school setting could look like. There was a lot of stress about student choice and voice that 0 at first - left facilitators feeling overwhelmed and powerless. Interested to hear if any of your experiences were similar.  

     
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  • Icon for: Kathleen Fritz

    Kathleen Fritz

    Co-Presenter
    May 17, 2017 | 09:47 a.m.

    Hi Dale,

    Thanks for your comment.  I agree that introducing PBL in both the school and after-school settings takes awhile to figure out as well as to determine what PBL looks like for that particular school culture.  Trust in the process, to create better learning outcomes, is a big hurdle.   I'm not sure by your comment if the after-school program was more or less inclined to allow more student voice and choice, but I'm assuming that there was less of it.  I find that after the second year of working with our teachers, when they felt more comfortable with the PBL process, that voice and choice emerged when they became more practiced with facilitation.  I learned a lot about how a teacher, class and school move towards full PBL implementation during these last 3 years and talk a with teachers and admin on where their comfort zone is on a the PBL scale ('I'm never doing this' -'not sure if it will work'-'I'm waiting to see'-'I think I'm getting it'- 'this is awesome') throughout my workshops and coaching. 

     
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  • Icon for: Michael Kolodziej

    Michael Kolodziej

    Facilitator
    May 17, 2017 | 02:39 p.m.

    I really love this topic and approach, and have some of the same questions as above.  It seems to me that combining technology and PBL is both a perfect combination of tools and problem solving practice, and at the same time poses two potential barriers for teachers; supervising the use of technology, and facilitating PBL pedagogical practice, a divergence from traditionally enculturated methods.  

    You mentioned learning a lot about how teachers and schools move toward full implementation, and I would love to hear some of your learnings that might inform other efforts to support change in this general direction.  Thanks in advance for any thoughts you can share.

     
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  • Icon for: Chris Thompson

    Chris Thompson

    Co-Presenter
    May 17, 2017 | 03:02 p.m.

    Hi Michael,

    Here are a few learnings from my experience with the project:

    1. It is a slow process that never ends.
    2. School-wide implementation of PBL and CT helps move it from an isolated project to a classroom norm.
    3. The school leaders play a very important role in the transformation process.
     
    1
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    Michael Kolodziej
  • Icon for: Michael Kolodziej

    Michael Kolodziej

    Facilitator
    May 19, 2017 | 01:33 p.m.

    Thank you Chris!  I chuckled at the slow process and never ending. :)

     
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  • Icon for: Bernadette Sibuma

    Bernadette Sibuma

    Researcher
    May 17, 2017 | 03:52 p.m.

    I love that you included the students' voices in your video!

    Can you say a bit more about how your teachers assess students learning of computational thinking specifically? 

     
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  • Icon for: Alison Shelton

    Alison Shelton

    Co-Presenter
    May 18, 2017 | 07:33 a.m.

    When developing the PBL project, teachers intentionally plan using content standards as the core and then layer in the ISTE Standards and Computational Thinking vocabulary (data collection, problem decomposition, etc.).  As they develop the learning guide (specific lessons) around the content, teachers teach and make direct connections with the practices that are occurring in the learning cycle with the direct link to the ISTE standard and/or CT action they are completing.  Initially the ISTE and CT are learned in very formative methods (for the learning).   As the scholars learn the content the scholars begin to naturally develop their language and identification around their actions as it relates to the ISTE and CT.  It is quite impressive to see scholars make this transition.

     
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  • Icon for: Dale McCreedy

    Dale McCreedy

    Facilitator
    May 19, 2017 | 12:53 p.m.

    Could you please say more about the teacher observation tool? ICOT?

     
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  • Icon for: Meghan Welch

    Meghan Welch

    Presenter
    May 22, 2017 | 10:04 a.m.

    Hi Dale --

    Here's a link to info on the tool: http://stelar.edc.org/instruments/iste-classroo...

    Our external evaluator uses the ICOT to go in and observe the teachers before, during, and after our professional developments. It has a pretty specific focus (ISTE standards including concepts of computational thinking), but has let us "see" what progress (how teachers are implementing concepts in-classroom) has been made over the course of our project.

     
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  • Further posting is closed as the showcase has ended.