June 24, 2017
June 24, 2017
June 28, 2017
Computers in Education
Scratch is a free educational programming language created by Lifelong Kindergarten group at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, geared towards kids ages to 8-16 and grades 3rd grade to high school. It is also an online community of over 12 million registered users where children can program creatively and collaboratively. Many institutions have created and deployed Scratch based outreach programs across the nation to teach k12 students programming, such as Wichita State University, New Mexico State University, University of Texas in Dallas, and University of California to name a few examples. Since Scratch sticks with a graphical programming interface absent of lines of code, Kindergarten and up can benefit from its simplicity. Scratch is often referred to as a programming language. From our experience, Scratch is not as much a programming language as it is a tool—a tool that teachers can adapt to nearly any subject. If used effectively, Scratch can teach children logic while simultaneously being used as a supplement in teaching all their core curricula. In this yearlong project we are working closely with a group of middle and high school teachers from three counties of West Virginia to utilize Scratch programming to model concepts learned in any subject area in the K-12 classrooms. Our focus is to employ Scratch to model projects closely related to real-world applications to facilitate delivering abstract concepts in the K-12 curricula. We are working with middle and high school teachers in different subject areas including English, Physical Science, Math, Biology, Music and more. This project consists of three phases. In Phase 1 we visited the classrooms to establish trusting relationships with the participating teachers in order to facilitate the next two phases. Phase 2 is an online workshop in which systematic training on Scratch programming is delivered systematically. Phase 3 is year-round online and on-site support for one year after the summer workshop to maintain a long-term community of practice among k12 teachers and university educators. During this phase 3 our computer science university students are working with the participating teachers to develop their scratch projects applicable to their own subject areas. This “hybrid format” (face-to-face + online), is tailored for the needs of these teachers who have no prior programming experience. The impact of the project on teachers and students is determined through a series of surveys and interviews. We are also collecting pre and post raw scores from student assessments before and after administering a scratch project. At present, we are still in the process of collecting results from students and have not collected the final survey data from the participating teachers. While the data are still being collected, the initial survey results indicate that, the project succeeded in instructing the basic concepts of Scratch programming to the participating teachers and increasing their confidence of incorporating scratch-based learning into their own subject areas. Results of the all surveys, interviews, and student performance will be presented at the paper.
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