1. Jillian Orr
  2. http://first8studios.org
  3. Executive Producer
  4. Integrating Computational Thinking into Mathematics Instruction in Rural and Urban Preschools
  5. WGBH Educational Foundation
  1. Heather Lavigne
  2. Senior Research Associate
  3. Integrating Computational Thinking into Mathematics Instruction in Rural and Urban Preschools
  4. Education Development Center
  1. Marisa Wolsky
  2. Executive Producer
  3. Integrating Computational Thinking into Mathematics Instruction in Rural and Urban Preschools
  4. WGBH Educational Foundation
  1. Amanda Wright
  2. Early Childhood Education Manager
  3. Integrating Computational Thinking into Mathematics Instruction in Rural and Urban Preschools
  4. Kentucky Educational Television
Public Discussion
  • Icon for: Sally Crissman

    Sally Crissman

    Facilitator
    May 14, 2018 | 03:22 p.m.

    hi Team, 

    Thanks for the video that makes your project really enticing! I continue to be intrigued by how children experience firsthand 3-D phenomena and ones seen on a screen. Do you have any data that show how the hands-on activities and the tablet apps leverage one another? Do preschool children use the same or similar strategies in the two situations?

    And then here's a personal question! Will my young grandchildren who experience almost no "screen time" be at a CT disadvantage?  

    Sally

  • Icon for: Jillian Orr

    Jillian Orr

    Lead Presenter
    May 15, 2018 | 11:19 a.m.

    Hi Sally!
     
    Thanks for your questions.
     
    While research we’ve done for another media project does support that more learning occurs when media is accompanied by hands-on experiences, for this project, we don’t have data that separates the two different approaches for CT (one being digital and one being hands-on). However, we did intentionally design the hands-on and digital activities to work together and be complementary. Additionally, with this project, we carefully craft digital experiences so that they fit within the 15-minutes that a child may spend at a learning center in the classroom (with 15 minutes of screen time being the maximum in many preschools, especially given the one hour a day screen time limit set by the American Academy of Pediatrics).

    The project’s development focused on creating 3 apps and 12 hands-on activities. The breakdown is that one app and four hands-on activities would focus on sequencing, another app and four hands-on activities on debugging, and the final  app and remaining four hands-on activities would focus on modularity. All development stemmed from the same learning blueprint (therefore, our development team had the same definition of learning goals, ways to build the skills, and ways to vary difficulty). We’re fortunate to have an in-house team at WGBH that is comprised of our curriculum and hands-on activity writers and our digital producers, designers, and programmers. Thus, we worked together a lot! So in short, yes, the app and hands-on activities were designed for children to use the same or similar strategies, but we did not study how the hands-on activities and the tablet apps leverage one another.
     
    Thanks again for your questions!
    Jillian

  • May 14, 2018 | 03:26 p.m.

    Sounds like a really creative project! I particularly appreciate that it has hands-on components and isn't exclusively tablet-based. e.g. the activity with the paper sheets (clap! clap! jump! what went wrong?) - So clever to have them sequence and then read aloud from large paper sheets - a perfect way to enact designing versus running an algorithm for this age group, and have it be fun. 

  • Icon for: Jillian Orr

    Jillian Orr

    Lead Presenter
    May 14, 2018 | 06:17 p.m.

    Thanks, Sue! We agree that the hands-on activity is a great way to integrate sequencing in an “unplugged” way. One of our advisors, Dr. Marina Bers from Tufts, encouraged the use of visualizing the units of the sequence on paper. In addition to designing the algorithm, visualizing it on paper allows students to debug it and to run the created algorithm in a very physical and fun way!

  • Icon for: Jonathan Margolin

    Jonathan Margolin

    Facilitator
    May 14, 2018 | 10:33 p.m.

    The preschool kids in the video seemed to really get excited by their CT lessons. It occurs to me that the CT concepts may be new to the teachers as well as the students. Is there a professional development component that you are developing along with these digital resources?

  • Icon for: Jillian Orr

    Jillian Orr

    Lead Presenter
    May 15, 2018 | 10:41 a.m.

    Hi Jonathan!
     
    Fantastic question, and you’re absolutely right! We have found that CT concepts — and especially focusing or emphasizing CT that already occurs in the classroom — is indeed new to teachers (and yes, children). The primary focus of this project is on children’s CT learning; however, teachers absolutely need support for this. We have developed a workshop for our partner teachers participating in the study, and we hope to continue exploring professional development as we move our research forward.
     
    As far as we are aware, there are not many professional development resources for preschool educators in the area of CT, but please do share if you know of any!
     
    Cheers,
    Jillian

  • Icon for: Jonathan Margolin

    Jonathan Margolin

    Facilitator
    May 15, 2018 | 11:18 a.m.

    Yes, I agree that there are few PD resources for preschool educators. I will ask around to see if some colleagues know of any.

  • Icon for: Jillian Orr

    Jillian Orr

    Lead Presenter
    May 15, 2018 | 11:19 a.m.

    Thanks a bunch!

  • Icon for: Margo Murphy

    Margo Murphy

    Facilitator
    May 16, 2018 | 05:10 a.m.

    I have already shared this video with preschool and kindergarten colleagues. As well as, my curriculum coordinator.  

    This project is helpful in understanding what CT is and why it is essential learning and how it supports a lot of other curricular goals.  I am really curious from this work whether there have been measurable differences in preschooler readiness for kindergarten? or other measures of growth?

  • Icon for: Marisa Wolsky

    Marisa Wolsky

    Co-Presenter
    May 16, 2018 | 06:23 a.m.

    Hi Margo,

    Thank you for spreading the word about our project. 

    Although research has shown excellent effects of CT education in grades K–12, little research has been completed with preschoolers. The research that does exist focuses on the development of CT skills in the context of coding. Studies conducted on programming languages demonstrated that children as young as four can master foundational programming concepts, such as the design process, sequencing, repeat loops, and conditional commands. Learning to code in early childhood has been shown to have a positive impact on sequencing skills both in one-to-one laboratory settings.

    In early 2019, we will begin conducting an impact study with preschool children. Our research questions in measuring the impact of the media and hands-on activities on preschoolers include: What evidence exists that the resources, when used during co-engagement between parent and child, promote CT skills, attitudes, and behaviors? and Are preschool children that experienced the video and hands-on activities with their parents better able to apply CT core concepts relative to children in the control group?

    Perhaps by the next showcase we will have preliminary results we can share.

    Thanks for your question, Marisa 

     

     
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    Discussion is closed. Upvoting is no longer available

    Margo Murphy
  • Icon for: Sally Crissman

    Sally Crissman

    Facilitator
    May 17, 2018 | 10:48 a.m.

    thanks, Marisa. I do hope there's an update next year! I like the idea of identifying evidence that indicates growth in skills, attitudes and behaviors in the short term. what about the long term...where these children land next will determine whether the skills acquired in preschool are nurtured and developed. Will you follow any of these children?

    Sally

  • Icon for: Heather Lavigne

    Heather Lavigne

    Co-Presenter
    May 17, 2018 | 11:31 a.m.

    Hi Sally,
     
    We love your excitement about our project!  There’s just so much the field wants to know about the true potential of CT learning during the preschool years; so much more than we could possibly accomplish in two years.  Since all of this work is still exploratory to a certain extent, we’re focused on gathering that short-term evidence for CT learning which will take us to the end of our workscope.  But you raise the important point of what happens beyond the short term. In one of the threads we’ve engaged with during this Showcase, folks have discussed the concern of the fade out effects of preschool learning, in general. We agree that CT learning would not be immune to this concern. One of the important next steps for researchers, curriculum developers, and educators is to think about the pipeline for CT learning and how later experiences can build off of what children are learning in early childhood. Longitudinal research is something that we, and others doing developmental research in this field, should definitely consider to investigate how these informal and formal CT learning experiences can support learning in later grades.
     
    Heather

  • Small default profile

    Abigail Donmoyer

    Undergraduate Student
    May 20, 2018 | 04:54 p.m.

    I am hoping to teach at the Preschool age when I graduate. With my STEM minor, I am always looking for ways to engage younger students in STEM and math concepts. I think these activities and apps are an amazing and effective way to teach students CT skills. Many don't think about teaching debugging or other skills to Preschool, but this is the perfect age to start them on their learning journey. I really like what you are doing with these students. Would you consider opening these apps to public use? If they are, I would love to know what they are called so I can incorporate them into my teaching. 

  • Icon for: Jillian Orr

    Jillian Orr

    Lead Presenter
    May 21, 2018 | 02:17 p.m.

    Wonderful, Abigail! That's so exciting that you're hoping to teach preschool! There is a plan for the resources to be made available to the public, pending additional funding support. This is all part of a larger public media property focused on computational thinking and being developed at WGBH called “Monkeying Around.” Keep an eye out for it!

  • Icon for: Aliyah Elijah

    Aliyah Elijah

    Graduate Student
    May 21, 2018 | 09:34 a.m.

    Having hands on activate is such a good way to keep children interacted with the subject, especially math. Math is a hard subject, and if kids can combat it at an young age, it then becomes second nature and the more likely they will succeed. I like what you Gus are doing in this video! The kids seems excited about learning math, which is always good. 

  • Icon for: Jillian Orr

    Jillian Orr

    Lead Presenter
    May 21, 2018 | 01:34 p.m.

    Thanks, Aliyah!

  • Small default profile

    Nina Straatmann

    K-12 Teacher
    May 21, 2018 | 02:22 p.m.

    I am so happy to see this in preschool!  Students need a good foundation. I am in a rural school.  Teaching the upper classes, we need the students to have been started on STEM.

  • Further posting is closed as the showcase has ended.