Introducing Coding into Teacher Education: An Interdisciplinary Robotics Experience for Education and Engineering Students
Abstract: Despite nationwide mandates to integrate computer science into P-6 curriculum, most P-6 preservice teachers (PSTs) are not exposed to coding or computational thinking during their professional preparation, and are unprepared to teach these topics. This study, conducted as a part of an NSF-funded project, explores a teacher preparation model designed to increase PSTs’ coding knowledge and coding self-efficacy. PSTs in an educational technology course partnered with engineering undergraduates (EUs) in a computational methods course and worked side-by-side on robotics activities to develop skill and confidence with basic programming concepts and block coding. Students utilized experience gained from these interdisciplinary partnerships to lead robotics activities with fifth and sixth grade students (FSGs) in an after-school technology club. Findings from quantitative studies suggest that the implementation of the approach resulted in a significant increase in both PSTs’ coding knowledge and coding self-efficacy. Qualitative studies revealed that most PSTs’ and EUs’ perceived value of the project was positive.
Presider: Jongpil Cheon, Texas Tech University