March 05, 2019 Michael McKelvey

Author: Michael McKelvey
Contributors: Katie Rich, Todd Lash

SIGCSE 2019 - 50th Celebration!

This past weekend, our team presented at the Special Interest Group on Computer Science Education (SIGCSE) annual conference for 2019. We were treated to a true Minneapolis winter experience, replete with snow, freezing temperatures, and more snow. Fortunately, our motto is: “when life hands you atmospheric water vapor frozen into ice crystals…stay inside, make hot chocolate, and talk about computational thinking.“

Our project was pleased to debut our latest learning trajectory paper on Debugging, contribute a poster on Building Trust in CS Research-Practice Partnerships, participate in a panel on accessibility in K-12 CS Education, and speak on equity in implementation of CS in K-8 Classrooms. Plus, as a prelude to all of this, LTEC Co-PI Diana Franklin participated in the RESPECT 2019 (co-located with SIGCSE 2019) keynote panel, sharing her perspective on providing foundational research to bring CS/CT to a broader audience.

Below we will summarize our sessions and a Twitter timeline of the conference some of the notable Twitter moments that demonstrate the extent of the collaboration, encouragement, and collegiality which left us energized after this conference.

Our Sessions/Posters

[RESPECT Conference] Plenary Session: CS for PreK-8: Theory and Practice Supporting Broadening Participation

Diana Franklin
UChicago STEM Ed
Diana Franklin

Description of session: Diana joined this keynote panel to share her perspective on providing foundational research to bring CS/CT to a broader audience.

RESPECT Conference 2019 program

A K-8 Debugging Learning Trajectory Derived from Research Literature

Katie Rich, Carla Strickland, Diana Franklin
UChicago STEM Ed
Katie Rich
Carla Strickland Diana Franklin

Description of session: Curriculum development is dependent on the following question: What are the learning goals for a specific topic, and what are reasonable ways to organize and order those goals? Learning trajectories (LTs) for computational thinking (CT) topics will help to guide emerging curriculum development efforts for computer science in elementary school. This study describes the development of an LT for Debugging. We conducted a rigorous analysis of scholarly research on K-8 computer science education to extract what concepts in debugging students should and are capable of learning. The concepts were organized into the LT presented within. In this paper, we describe the three dimensions of debugging that emerged during the creation of the trajectory: (1) strategies for finding and fixing errors, (2) types of errors, and (3) the role of errors in problem solving. In doing so, we go beyond identification of specific debugging strategies to further articulate knowledge that would help students understand when to use those techniques and why they are successful. Finally, we illustrate how the Debugging LT has guided our efforts to develop an integrated mathematics and CT curriculum for grades 3-5.

More info:

Pride points:

Poster #215: Building Trust in Computer Science Research-Practice Partnerships: A Theme Study

Todd Lash
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Todd Lash

Description of session: Creating equitable, sustainable, and productive partnerships between computer science (CS) education researchers and practitioners is essential if we are to further improve CS educational outcomes, practice, and equity. Research-practice partnerships (RPPs) provide one promising approach for expanding how practice may inform research and research may inform practice. This early work, centered around a framework proposed by Henrick et al., and utilizing interview data from 11 participants, explores the ways in which six diverse RPP teams went about developing trusting and collaborative relationships as they worked together to solve local problems of practice. Barriers and challenges to collaboration and trust building, as well as mechanisms by which teams overcame those challenges, are discussed. The study revealed discrete team behaviors, norms, and structures that may contribute to building more collaborative, trusting, and sustainable RPP relationships. Limitations are presented and implications for current and future RPP teams, as well as possible future research directions, are addressed.

More Info:

Session 8L: Panel: Making K-12 CS Education Accessibility a Norm, not an Exception

Maya Israel, Todd Lash
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Maya Israel
Todd Lash

Description of session: Computer science (CS) education is rapidly expanding in the United States. That said, the CS education field is still grappling with coming to consensus about definitions of K-12 CS and how to reach all students. While the CS education community has made great efforts to expand opportunity for under served groups, students with disabilities have regularly been left out of the conversation. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, approximately 13% of all students enrolled in public schools in the US receive special education services and 95% of these students are taught either part or full time in the regular classroom[3] . One aim of CSforALL is to increase equity in CS education and opportunities[5]. Recent studies have examined the challenges faced by students with disabilities in K12 CS education[1][2]. Including students with disabilities in CS classes not only increases their access to academic and career opportunities in CS, but it also gives them the opportunity to develop new ways of thinking and participating in the world that they would otherwise be potentially without. This panel addresses the inclusion of students with disabilities as part of the national all and seeks to augment the discussion initiated by the CSforALL Consortium and AccessCSforALL with the introduction of the Accessibility Pledge at the annual CSforALL Summit. This panel brings together four different experts, with a wide range of experience in regards to computer science education and students with disabilities, in an effort to expand both the national conversation and increase efforts related to including students with disabilities equitably in CS education.

In this panel we present a group of CS education community members who represent multiple approaches to accessibility and serving students with disabilities, as well as diverse implementations; peer-to-peer mentoring, initiatives focused on a single subpopulation of students with disabilities, curriculum and platform providers, and district and state-wide solutions. The panelists, and the organizations they represent have a diversity of experiences to share, including current high school students and parents of students with disabilities.

Accessibility panel: information

An Analysis through an Equity Lens of the Implementation of Computer Science in K-8 Classrooms in a Large, Urban School District

Diana Franklin
UChicago STEM Ed
Diana Franklin

Description of session: Major metropolitan school districts around the United States are implementing computer science in elementary school classrooms as part of the CS for All (CS4All) initiative. Little is known, however, about the success of such a large-scale rollout, especially in terms of equity. In this study we analyze the performance of 4th grade classrooms completing three modules of an introductory computational thinking curriculum, looking at not only overall results but also the variance in performance between high-, mid-, and low-performing schools (as identified by their school report cards). We find that all classrooms are benefiting from the computational thinking (CT) curriculum, making great strides in providing equitable access to CT education. However, statistically-significant differences in performance are present, especially between the high- and low-performing schools, showing that there is still room for improvement in developing strategies and curricula for struggling learners.

More info:

Twitter moments

Before SIGCSE 2019:

Katie Rich blogged about our new Debugging LT and associated paper which was published in the SIGCSE 2019 proceedings. Make sure to check out her post: New paper: Debugging LT.

And Mark Guzdial retweeted Katie with praise for our Debugging paper:

On February 27, Diana Franklin spoke as part of the keynote panel at the RESPECT 2019 conference (RESPECT co-located with SIGCSE this year)

At SIGCSE 2019

On Thursday, February 28, 2019, the team started arriving and finding each other…

Everyone started noticing that Minneapolis in February/March comes with certain… conditions

On Friday, March 1, 2019, the conference began in earnest!

We had to give props to teachers already doing the work of integrating math & CS in elementary classrooms:

Maya Israel and our learning trajectories both got shoutouts in Mark Guzdial’s keynote speech!

Our first presentation was a hit! Everyone wanted to learn about our Debugging learning trajectory research and new paper:

Todd, ever the joker…

Next, Todd Lash represented us with his poster on Building Trust in CS Research-Practice Partnerships

Saturday, March 2, 2019: we started off day 2 of SIGCSE 2019 with Maya & Todd taking part in a panel on accessibility in K-12 CS Education:

Followed by Diana Franklin and other UChicago STEM Ed colleagues’ presentation on equity in implementation of CS in K-8

Throughout the conference we were challenged with deep thoughts and reflections

The conference was not without some controversy, which spurred the community to action:

We engaged in some good discussions

Met new friends (and possible future colleagues…?)

Connected with people using our research in practice

And of course, we had a little fun!

In summary

If you are looking for more good SIGCSE 2019 summaries, we highly recommend the following blog posts:

If you would like to keep up with us, our next big event will be UDL-IRN 2019 Summit, where Maya Israel will be presenting later this month. Make sure to look out for her and say “hi” if you see her there!