This summer, I implemented a research study that used the Dash robotics to teach science and coding at a local elementary school summer camp. I had kids in my classes from different school districts in the Southeastern part of the United States. In the last class, I asked the kids how they liked learning coding and science, and besides showing enthusiasm, two kids asked me if I could do the research study again at their school, one said she was really sad that the class was coming to an end, and one was proud because her parents were going to buy her a Dash robot as a birthday gift.
While students across the world continue to make amazing things using the Scratch programming language, this month Scratch had a significant accomplishment of its own. Scratch attained its highest ever ranking, Position 14, in the TIOBE Programming Community index, an indicator of the popularity of programming languages.
LTEC Role: I am a Mathematics/CS Lesson Plan Editor. In this role I help develop and edit lessons which incorporate coding into the mathematics curriculum. I also support teachers as they use these lessons in their classrooms. This allows me to see firsthand how students work through each activity.
Professional Background: My background is in middle school education with an emphasis in mathematics. I taught a self-contained fifth grade class for 22 years in a rural district in Illinois. All the while I was interested in furthering my knowledge. I assisted in the development of Illinois Assessment Frameworks for fifth grade mathematics, and I worked for several years with ISAT Assessments. Many years ago, I began my partnership with the University of Illinois and began writing Mathematics Materials for Tomorrow’s Teachers (M2T2), the ideas of which I incorporated into my classroom. Technology became a particular interest to me which led me to Lenny Pitt and Jana Sebestik. Together we wrote three 4H manuals, the first of which is called Discovering Computer Science & Programming through Scratch. Currently I am developing and editing classroom-ready activities using Scratch to enhance elementary mathematic curriculum.