The Enhancement of Computational Thinking and Computer Science in the Middle Grades: A Research to Practitioner Approach with a Focus on Professional Development for Teachers of Middle Grades
Abstract: The purpose was to facilitate Computer Science (CS) and Computational Thinking (CT) instruction in grades 5 – 8. Partner members include Director of Coding for the Arkansas Mathematics, Science, & Arts school, Arkansas Department of Education ADE, public schools and communities, University CS and Teacher Ed. This is based on the 2012 standards of the Computer Science Teaching Association (CSTA), the 2012 International Standards for Technology Educators (ISTE) and the ADE 2017 CS Standards for grades 5 – 8. Involvement from teachers and schools was sought for specific CSCT needs. The project, partially funded by Google, serves 56 teachers in three types of PD programs: an online course, PD boot camp, and a conference. Youth also attend summer CSCT camps on the university campus. In addition to improving CSCT programs for 5 - 8 graders, teachers are better prepared for the PRAXIS exam and obtaining the state CS endorsement.