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CS4Impact: Measuring Computational Thinking Concepts Present in CS4HS Participant Lesson Plans. Heather Bort and Dennis Brylow SIGCSE 2013. Outline. Problem Solution Workshop Structure Rubric Results Future Work. The Problem.

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CS4Impact: Measuring Computational Thinking Concepts Present in CS4HS Participant Lesson Plans

Heather Bort and Dennis Brylow




  • Problem
  • Solution
  • Workshop Structure
  • Rubric
  • Results
  • Future Work
the problem

The Problem

  • Many current K-12 outreach efforts attempt to increase the number of students interested in majoring in computer science and related fields
  • Assessing these efforts has proven to be challenging
  • Most prior work on examining the impact of professional development interventions for K-12 CS teachers stops with indirect measures
indirect vs direct

Indirect vs Direct

  • Measuring Knowledge
    • Before and After workshop attitudinal survey (indirect)
    • Concept Quiz (direct)
  • Measuring Concept Integration
    • Surveying attitudes about using the concepts in their classrooms (indirect)
    • Ability to integrate workshop material into lesson plans for the classroom (direct)
measuring impact

Measuring Impact

  • Workshop structured around Computational Thinking (CT) lesson plan building and sharing
  • Designed a rubric to measure how CT concepts were used in the lesson plans
  • Applied the rubric during the sharing phase of the workshop
data collection

Data Collection

  • Each participant presented their lesson plan to the group
  • Presentations were video taped for later analysis
  • 4 hours video data with full text of written plans coded with rubric


  • Computational Thinking Concepts
  • Level of Inquiry
computational thinking

Computational Thinking

  • Jeannette Wing states that computational thinking “represents a universally applicable attitude and skill set everyone, not just computer scientists, would be eager to learn and use”
  • a problem solving method that uses algorithmic processes and abstraction to arrive at a answer
  • showcase concepts over programming skill or computational tools in the classroom
computational thinking concepts

Computational Thinking Concepts

  • Data Collection
  • Data Analysis
  • Data Representation
  • Problem Decomposition
  • Abstraction
  • Algorithms & Procedures
  • Automation
  • Simulation
  • Parallelization
why inquiry based learning
Why Inquiry based learning?
  • We learn by inquiry from birth
  • Important skill set
  • Central to science learning
  • Right answer versus appropriate resolution
traditional approach to learning
Traditional Approach to Learning
  • Focused on mastery of content
  • Teacher centered
  • Teacher dispenses “what is known”
  • Students are receivers of information
  • Assessment is focused on the importance of “one right answer”
inquiry approach to learning
Inquiry Approach to Learning
  • Focused on using and learning content to develop information processing and problem solving skills.
  • More student centered
  • Teacher is the facilitator of learning
  • More emphasis on “how we come to know”
  • Students are involved in the construction of knowledge

Sage on the Stage


Guide on the Side

1 bloom s taxonomy
1. Bloom’s taxonomy
  • Inquiry based learning asks questions that come from the higher levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy
2 asks questions that motivate
2. Asks questions that motivate
  • Inquiry based learning involves questions that are interesting and motivating to students
types of questions
Types of questions
  • Inference
  • Interpretation
  • Transfer
  • About hypotheses
  • Reflective
3 utilizes wide variety of resources
3. Utilizes wide variety of resources
  • Inquiry based learning utilizes a wide variety of resources so students can gather information and form opinions.
4 teacher as facilitator
4. Teacher as facilitator
  • Teachers play a new role as guide or facilitator
5 meaningful products come out of inquiry based learning
5. Meaningful products come out of inquiry based learning
  • Students must be meaningfully engaged in learning activities through interaction with others and worthwhile tasks.
inquiry based learning in computer science
Inquiry based learning in Computer science
  • Cooperative Learning
  • Teamwork
  • Collaboration
  • Project-oriented learning
  • Authentic Focus
what we learned

What We Learned

  • Many of the participants did not effectively integrate the CT core concepts into their lessons
  • A large number of lesson plans scored 0 in some sections of the rubric
what we learned1

What We Learned

  • Among the experienced CS teachers, some are firmly entrenched in a pedagogical style that still emphasizes conveying facts and programming language syntax, not in focusing on skill building
  • Large number of participants were able to produce lesson plans with level 1 or level 2 components, sometimes in multiple core areas.
follow up

Follow Up

  • One third of participants volunteered feedback for six month follow up survey.
  • All but one respondent has been incorporating concepts from the workshop in their classrooms
moving forward

Moving Forward

  • Link CS4HS content to Common Core Standards
  • Better lesson plan development and assessment
  • Continued multi track structure
our thanks to

Our Thanks To:

  • Google
  • Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction
  • The Leadership of the Wisconsin Dairyland CSTA
  • The many teachers that participated