1. Brittany Fasy
  2. https://www.cs.montana.edu/brittany/
  3. Assistant Professor/PI
  4. Improving the Pipeline for Rural and American Indian Students Entering Computer Science Via Storytelling
  5. http://www.montana.edu/storytelling
  6. Montana State University
  1. Connie Chang
  2. http://www.montana.edu/changlab/
  3. Assistant Professor/Co-PI
  4. Improving the Pipeline for Rural and American Indian Students Entering Computer Science Via Storytelling
  5. http://www.montana.edu/storytelling
  6. Montana State University
  1. Stacey Hancock
  2. http://www.math.montana.edu/shancock/
  3. Assistant Professor/Co-PI
  4. Improving the Pipeline for Rural and American Indian Students Entering Computer Science Via Storytelling
  5. http://www.montana.edu/storytelling
  6. Montana State University
  1. Suzie Hockel
  2. Program Coordinator
  3. Improving the Pipeline for Rural and American Indian Students Entering Computer Science Via Storytelling
  4. http://www.montana.edu/storytelling
  5. Montana State University
  1. Barbara Komlos
  2. Grant Assessment Coordinator
  3. Improving the Pipeline for Rural and American Indian Students Entering Computer Science Via Storytelling
  4. http://www.montana.edu/storytelling
  5. Montana State University
  1. Evangeline Koonce
  2. MFA Student in Science and Natural History Filmmaking
  3. Improving the Pipeline for Rural and American Indian Students Entering Computer Science Via Storytelling
  4. http://www.montana.edu/storytelling
  5. Montana State University
  1. Kirby Overman
  2. Undergraduate Student in Computer Science
  3. Improving the Pipeline for Rural and American Indian Students Entering Computer Science Via Storytelling
  4. http://www.montana.edu/storytelling
  5. Montana State University
  1. Allison Theobold
  2. PhD Student in Statistics
  3. Improving the Pipeline for Rural and American Indian Students Entering Computer Science Via Storytelling
  4. http://www.montana.edu/storytelling
  5. Montana State University
  1. Que Tran
  2. PhD Student in Adult and Higher Education
  3. Improving the Pipeline for Rural and American Indian Students Entering Computer Science Via Storytelling
  4. http://www.montana.edu/storytelling
  5. Montana State University
Presenters’
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Public Discussion
  • Icon for: Brittany Fasy

    Brittany Fasy

    Lead Presenter
    May 14, 2018 | 01:22 a.m.

    Our team is developing and researching storytelling as a culturally responsive way to engage American Indian and rural Montana middle school students in learning computer science and computing skills. Our goal is to infuse computer science across the middle school curriculum by creating lessons that teachers from art and history to science and math can use to teach their subjects, while also incorporating computer science in an interactive animation environment. The lessons we are developing use Alice, an object-oriented drag-and-drop programming environment that has already proven to be successful in engaging and retaining diverse and under-served groups in computer science.

    In Montana, under the Indian Education for All Act, K-12 curriculum is mandated to incorporate Essential Understandings Regarding Montana Indians. We create lesson plans that engage students with both content standards and Essential Understandings, while incorporating an introduction to computer science concepts, through the use of Storytelling. Currently, we have developed several lesson plans and outreach modules. Once they are finalized, these materials will be available on our website: http://www.montana.edu/storytelling/

    Thank you for taking the time to watch our video! We welcome any feedback! In particular:

    1. What would you still like to know about our project?
    2. What advice do you have for teaching animation and computational thinking to middle schoolers, or for training middle school teachers to teach these concepts?
    3. What experience do you have with working with American Indian and/or rural communities?

  • Icon for: Alex Lishinski

    Alex Lishinski

    Facilitator
    May 15, 2018 | 10:49 a.m.

    Thank you for your presentation. I think that the premise of connecting computer science and computational thinking to storytelling is a very interesting one. I would just like to know more about how your project works practically. You said in the video that you're holding outreach events to reach students. What do these outreach events entail, and do you see these as an exploratory basis for further implementation of these types of lessons with middle schools students? I also would like to hear more about your ideas about the end products of your program, you say that you've developed lesson plans and outreach modules, but I'm curious to know about how these have been informed by the outreach events you have held thus far.

  • Icon for: Barbara Komlos

    Barbara Komlos

    Co-Presenter
    May 15, 2018 | 11:08 a.m.

    Thanks for watching and commenting, Alex. 

    Our outreach events are usually 40-60 minutes and either take place on our campus or at a local school. We have worked with 3rd - 12th graders so we can get a sense of what students are capable of in different grades. For example, we have been experimenting with how much direct instruction students need prior to using the Alice platform. Most students don't mind learning through trial and error, but it takes longer for them to finish the story that they are animating, which means they run out of time. We are also testing out the different lessons that we are creating around animating American Indian stories. We have to consider what kinds of background knowledge students may/may not have and how to engage them in the content (tied to the Essential Understandings about American Indians) as well as teach them computational thinking skills. So, we are always looking to balance these along with the middle school content standards (communication arts, art, science, math, etc.) that align with the lesson. Next fall we will begin going into the rural communities to implement 2-day lessons, so the outreach events are pilots to help us anticipate issues/questions. The end products will be the lesson plans that will be shared on the Montana Office of Public Instruction Indian Education for All website. We will also have the student "worlds" that are created using Alice. Already our team has contributed to the creation of authentic American Indian objects in Alice that the students can use in their animations. 

    I hope this helps give you a better idea of the process and products. 

  • Icon for: Brittany Fasy

    Brittany Fasy

    Lead Presenter
    May 15, 2018 | 12:13 p.m.

    With the outreach events, we are also working on fine-tuning our evaluation instruments.  We've learned which questions solicit better answers from students.  It's hard to get into classrooms, as classroom time is precious, so we have also adopted one of our 2-day lesson plans to fit within a one-hour outreach event in order to get feedback from students on the activities.

  • Icon for: Irene Lee

    Irene Lee

    Facilitator
    May 14, 2018 | 09:54 a.m.

    I really enjoyed your presentation!  It showed a great richness in cultural and local context.  I have a few questions for you:

    1) Are there avenues to insert / align science concepts with storytelling?

    2) You mentioned intergenerational contexts, could you say more about that?  Is it purposeful invitation of families into classrooms or do students share their work with family members outside of school?

    3) Are there specific CS-focused careers/jobs in local tribal communities that you use as examples?

  • Icon for: Barbara Komlos

    Barbara Komlos

    Co-Presenter
    May 14, 2018 | 10:47 a.m.

    Thank you for viewing! I will try and respond to your questions, but also let other members of our team chime in:

    1. I think we are developing those avenues to insert/align computer science concepts with storytelling. The oral tradition has historically been the means by which tribal communities teach one another about the world around them, and it continues to play a significant role today. There is considerable work with indigenous science (traditional ecological knowledge, for example) being done at tribal colleges and with indigenous scientists, but we haven't found anything specific to computer science. Animation aligns well with storytelling, so with the young learners it is easy to tell them to use the coding platform to construct a story. By aligning with Indian Education for All, we are making that connection to the oral tradition explicit and at the forefront of our curricular development. 

    2. At this point we are not inviting family members into the classrooms. We have only been engaged in outreach activities to pilot our lessons. I can imagine that students will be talking about the lessons at home, and they can even download the Alice platform to continue their animations at home if they have access to a computer. 

    3. On our advisory board, we have a CS professional with a Master's degree who is from a Montana tribe. He is a role model in the work that he does both in support of his tribe as well as in the industry. He and others in Montana are paving new directions for CS through the creation of nonprofits and working with their tribes and tribal colleges. In our lessons, we don't focus specifically on careers/jobs rather getting the middle school students interested in computer science in general. 

  • Icon for: Brittany Fasy

    Brittany Fasy

    Lead Presenter
    May 15, 2018 | 12:25 p.m.

    I'll chime in too!  First, thanks for watching our video and taking the time to ask such thoughtful questions.

    1. Since storytelling is so central to the communities with which we are working, the understanding of science topics is also grounded in storytelling.  Here are some examples: Blackfeet Astronomy and Story of the Seasons

    2. In addition to what Barbara says about students continuing animations at home, we will also have a showcase of student work at the end of our project.  This will be a way to engage the whole community!

    3. Yes, our AB member is certainly a great role model!  In the future, we may also develop lesson plans specific to career opportunities.  But, we have not explicitly used that as a learning objective yet.

  • Icon for: Katie Rich

    Katie Rich

    Facilitator
    May 14, 2018 | 10:03 a.m.

    Brittany and all,

    Very interesting project! I'm interested to hear more about how you integrate three kinds of learning goals into your activities. How does the balance work? Are the objectives of some activities targeted more to one of the three areas than another? In my work, I've found it challenging to even balance two areas, so I'm very interested to hear any ideas you have to share about how you've handled three!

     
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    Brittany Fasy
  • Icon for: Barbara Komlos

    Barbara Komlos

    Co-Presenter
    May 14, 2018 | 10:31 a.m.

    Hi Katie,

    We definitely have conversations about balancing the learning objectives. After we identify a story already vetted through the Indian Education for All curriculum process (MT Office of Public Instruction), we consider which computing skill would fit the best (ex. learning to use loops). The story also helps us identify the middle school curricular standards that align the best. Some lessons are heavier on the IEFA content, while others more on the computer science. The goal is to develop a variety of lesson plans to be used by middle school teachers across the curriculum. We have a great interdisciplinary team and that helps ideas to emerge organically. 

    Thanks for viewing and please let us know if you have further questions.

    Barbara

     
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    Katie Rich
  • Icon for: Shabnam Brady

    Shabnam Brady

    Graduate Student
    May 14, 2018 | 01:08 p.m.

    What a great project and inclusive approach to advancing STEM to engage ALL. Story telling is a huge part of my culture, so this would be very effective for many cultural groups. What literature did you all find to support the idea of story telling as an intervention across cultures? 

  • Icon for: Brittany Fasy

    Brittany Fasy

    Lead Presenter
    May 15, 2018 | 12:28 p.m.

    (Barbara responded below).  But, if you have suggestions for literature regarding any specific culture, we'd be interested in knowing what resources you think might help inform our endeavors too!

  • Icon for: Barbara Komlos

    Barbara Komlos

    Co-Presenter
    May 14, 2018 | 01:51 p.m.

    Hi Shabnam,

    Thanks for viewing and commenting. I agree that storytelling is an effective teaching method for most if not all cultural groups. We aren't really looking at an intervention across cultures, rather infusing knowledge of and about American Indian tribes into our curricula, and using storytelling as a bridge to teach animation and computational thinking. We are using Brayboy's tribal critical race theory to inform our work. I hope this helps! 

     

  • Icon for: Jessica Chapman

    Jessica Chapman

    Higher Ed Faculty
    May 15, 2018 | 10:10 a.m.

    This is such a cool project! In response to your third discussion question, St. Lawrence University is located in very rural northern New York, and we are nearby the Akwesasne Mohawk territory. We have an active S-STEM program, and a couple of our students are American Indians, and we have a large number of first generation college students in the program. Have you experienced any cultural barriers that prevent your target students from pursuing a college degree? If so, how have you dealt with that? Thank you!

     
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    Brittany Fasy
  • Icon for: Barbara Komlos

    Barbara Komlos

    Co-Presenter
    May 15, 2018 | 10:50 a.m.

    Hi Jessica, 

    Thanks for viewing and commenting. The project focuses on middle school students, so we don't talk about college with them explicitly; however, they do get to meet our undergraduate and graduate students working on the project. Role models, as you probably know, are really important for American Indian students. 

    Aside from this project, I work with American Indian students from high school all the way up to graduate school, so I see all kinds of barriers to education across the board. In terms of culture, it is important for students to find a home-away-from-home through a supportive network of peers and staff. Inclusive and culturally relevant/sustaining pedagogy can positively impact students' learning and persistence. In terms of interest in pursuing a college degree, sometimes there is a lack of support in the family/community because it means that the student will leave the home where they are needed. There is also the mindset that students will just drop out anyway, or that they won't find jobs in their tribal communities upon graduation. There is a lot of historical trauma around Western education, so it is not surprising that resistance exists. Having a university tribal liaison that engages conversation and establishes a relationship with the tribe can be beneficial and help open the path for students to apply and enroll. Outreach events that bring high school students to campus are also effective. Hopefully you have some of those elements already incorporated into your S-STEM program. Best of luck!

     
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    Brittany Fasy
    Jessica Chapman
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    Uncle Bill

    May 15, 2018 | 01:55 p.m.

    So simple, but complex and a great presentation! 

     
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    Connie Chang
  • Icon for: Brittany Fasy

    Brittany Fasy

    Lead Presenter
    May 15, 2018 | 02:06 p.m.

    Thanks for your support! :)

  • Small default profile

    Tomas Gedeon

    Higher Ed Faculty
    May 15, 2018 | 08:13 p.m.

    Very cool idea to view CS as a provider of  new tools to express our need to share stories. 

  • Icon for: Brittany Fasy

    Brittany Fasy

    Lead Presenter
    May 16, 2018 | 12:21 a.m.

    Thanks, Tomas!

  • May 16, 2018 | 08:37 a.m.

    Really nice to see how storytelling can bring so many pieces of STEM together!  In our work with rural kids, we've found that emphasizing "community STEM jobs" ---like the CS in emergency management work---is a distinct draw.  There's a new initiative that enables you to program with Scratch to fly drones on a course that you develop, which we're testing out this summer.  I wonder if your students might like to work with that? 

     
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    Brittany Fasy
  • Icon for: Que Tran

    Que Tran

    Co-Presenter
    May 16, 2018 | 12:21 p.m.

    Thank you Jan for viewing and commenting. We would love to learn your test 's result this summer. Currently we use Alice and "community STEM jobs" refers future career orientation for our middle school students that we have various approaches to orient.

  • Icon for: Joni Falk

    Joni Falk

    Co-Director of CSR at TERC
    May 16, 2018 | 09:45 a.m.

    Really enjoyed this video showing culturally responsive ways to connect to computer science. It is great to see concrete examples as to how this is done! Thank you.

     
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    Brittany Fasy
  • Icon for: Que Tran

    Que Tran

    Co-Presenter
    May 16, 2018 | 12:22 p.m.

    Thank you Joni for your comments.

  • May 16, 2018 | 12:32 p.m.

    What a fascinating, innovative, and incredibly powerful project!  As has been alluded to by others, storytelling is such a fundamental part of the human experience and one of the primary (perhaps even universal) means by which we understand and make sense of the universe and our place within it.  With that in mind, I was wondering if you intentionally drew from the ideas and tenets of universal design for learning, since it seems to make sense that the use of storytelling in CS education represents both (a) a long-overdue approach to foregrounding and sustaining the cultural knowledge and scientific processes of American Indian learners and (b) a platform for engagement that is not detrimental to (and in fact, I suspect, probably benefits) learners from other cultural backgrounds.  I know you mentioned that broader implementation and evaluation falls beyond the scope of the current project, but it may be interesting to consider exploring these avenues in the future, while still ensuring you never lose sight of the communities you most strongly wish to serve.

    Thank you for sharing your story!

     
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    Brittany Fasy
  • Icon for: Connie Chang

    Connie Chang

    Co-Presenter
    May 16, 2018 | 01:51 p.m.

    Thanks Chris! Yes, you make a great point about how we have a platform for universal learning and engagement! We have also extended our project to reach young women, including workshops at Girls For a Change (8th-12th girls) and Expanding Your Horizons (6th-8th grade girls). We have also been adapting our lesson plans for younger kids, and recently ran a workshop for all of the 5th graders from a local elementary school (~100 students) during a "STEM Days" campus visit. Thank you for taking a look at our video and for your comments!

  • Icon for: Allison Theobold

    Allison Theobold

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

    I'll chime in, too! First, thank you for watching our video and you bring up very relevant questions. The development of the curriculum for this project does draw on the tenets of Universal Learning, by

    • engaging students in a meaning making activity,
    • using stories that are relevant to them and their lived experiences,
    • recommending use of a discussion based, active learning classroom, and
    • encouraging usage of formative assessments that better capture student understandings. 

     

    Broader implementation, beyond the state of Montana, does not fall within the scope of our project. However, we intend to publish results from the project so that these results are more broadly disseminated to the CS and education community. Additionally, the materials developed for the project will be available on our website, which teachers could utilize in classrooms across the country. 

  • May 18, 2018 | 09:46 a.m.

    Very nice project. The video mentions the platform you use for storytelling uses drag and drop functions. Does the tool allow students to engage in higher levels of programming/coding?

  • Icon for: Connie Chang

    Connie Chang

    Co-Presenter
    May 18, 2018 | 02:03 p.m.

    Yes, there is a "code editor" panel that allows one to also drag and drop methods. Both the objects and commands for the objects are drag-and-drop. Students have access to typical commands in programming such as if-then statements, looping, or do together. It is very intuitive and simple, which makes it fun for the students! The code editor looks like this:

    https://www.alice.org/resources/how-tos/code-ed...

     
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    Brittany Fasy
  • Icon for: Brittany Fasy

    Brittany Fasy

    Lead Presenter
    May 18, 2018 | 02:12 p.m.

    The program we used is called Alice: http://www.alice.org/

    Everything is drag-and-drop, but they can peak at the Java if they like.  However, features you'd expect in programming, such as lists, for loops, if statements, are present.

  • Icon for: David DeLiema

    David DeLiema

    Researcher
    May 18, 2018 | 01:25 p.m.

    Very powerful project. Thanks so much for sharing. I would love to hear a bit about how students develop their stories and how their stories change/adapt once they start coding them in Alice. Do you find the interaction between the spoken/written story and the programmed story to be productive?

  • Icon for: Brittany Fasy

    Brittany Fasy

    Lead Presenter
    May 18, 2018 | 02:10 p.m.

    Great question, David!  I'll give  few anecdotes I have seen in response (mostly from outreach events, as we have only been in one classroom to date):

    • Early on, we allowed lots of freedom ("animate your favorite story" essentially).  In one of the stories, a student wanted a wolf but couldn't find one in the library (of available models).  So, they used a dog instead.  So, we have seen that students can, with an imaginative eye, do what they want to do.
    • Sometimes we give a starter world.  For a high school group, we had a skeleton in a deserted western town.  And, they had to animate the skeleton walking down the street.  While some students were on task, others decided to add some dionosaurs to the scene.  They were laughing and having fun, and they explained to us why it made sense.  So, while not meeting the objectives of the particular lesson, we at least got them excited about coding in Alice.  But, we do see their minds start wondering once they get into the list of available objects.  We're working on ways to figure out how to keep them more focused, while at the same time allowing them freedom to create something new.
    • In one outreach module for 3rd graders, we read the story of the seasons then animate the seasons changing.  This is a fun one, as seasons can be represented multiple ways.  Here (in Montana), the students find snow to be extremely important in winter.  So, if you have trees that look frozen, but grass still green, they observed that.
    • We don't always have a full story to go with a lesson.  One lesson we are developing is centered on the bead bags of the plateau tribes from the turn of the century.  We have a reading from Montana Historical society at the center of the lesson, and have discussions with students to interpret what they see depicted on the bags.  While there are some things we can guess based on context, the underlying story is a bit ambiguous and allows the students to interpret / use their imagination.
  • Further posting is closed as the showcase has ended.