Developing K-8 Computer Science Teachers' Content Knowledge, Self-efficacy, and Attitudes through Evidence-based Professional Development

Gwen Nugent, Keting Chen, Leen Kiat Soh, Dongho Choi, Guy Trainin, Wendy Smith

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Broadening participation in computer science (CS) for primary/elementary students is a growing movement, spurred by computing workforce demands and the need for younger students to develop skills in problem solving and critical/computational thinking. However, offering computer science instruction at this level is directly related to the availability of teachers prepared to teach the subject. Unfortunately, there are relatively few primary/elementary school teachers who have received formal training in computer science, and they often self-report a lack of CS subject matter expertise. Teacher development is a key factor to address these issues, and this paper describes professional development strategies and empirical impacts of a summer institute that included two graduate courses and a series of Saturday workshops during the subsequent academic year. Key elements included teaching a high-level programing language (Python and JavaScript), integrating CS content and pedagogy instruction, and involving both experienced K-12 CS teachers and University faculty as instructors. Empirical results showed that this carefully structured PD that incorporated evidence-based elements of sufficient duration, teacher active learning and collaboration, modeling, practice, and feedback can successfully impact teacher outcomes. Results showed significant gains in teacher CS knowledge (both pedagogy and content), self-efficacy, and perception of CS value. Moderating results - examining possible differential effects depending on teacher gender, years of teaching CS, and geographic locale - showed that the PD was successful with experienced and less experienced teachers, with teachers from both rural and urban locales, and with both males and females.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationITiCSE 2022 - Proceedings of the 27th ACM Conference on Innovation and Technology in Computer Science Education
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery
Pages540-546
Number of pages7
ISBN (Electronic)9781450392013
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 7 2022
Event27th ACM Conference on Innovation and Technology in Computer Science Education, ITiCSE 2022 - Dublin, Ireland
Duration: Jul 8 2022Jul 13 2022

Publication series

NameAnnual Conference on Innovation and Technology in Computer Science Education, ITiCSE
Volume1
ISSN (Print)1942-647X

Conference

Conference27th ACM Conference on Innovation and Technology in Computer Science Education, ITiCSE 2022
Country/TerritoryIreland
CityDublin
Period7/8/227/13/22

Keywords

  • k-8 education
  • research
  • teacher professional development

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Management of Technology and Innovation
  • Education

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