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Engagement in Practice: Outreach Program to Introduce Computer Science to Middle School Students

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Conference

2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Columbus, Ohio

Publication Date

June 24, 2017

Start Date

June 24, 2017

End Date

June 28, 2017

Conference Session

Community Engagement Division Technical Session 4

Tagged Division

Community Engagement Division

Tagged Topic

Diversity

Page Count

10

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/28236

Download Count

92

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Paper Authors

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Sifat Islam Florida Atlantic University

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Sifat Islam is a PhD Candidate in the Department of Computer & Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at Florida Atlantic University (FAU) in Boca Raton, FL. He earned his MS degree in computer engineering from FAU. He has over 10 years of experience on variety of software projects starting from requirement gathering to post implementation. His current research interests include Educational Data Mining and Semantic Web.

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Ravi T. Shankar Florida Atlantic University

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Ravi Shankar has a PhD in Electrical and Computer Engineering from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI, and an MBA from Florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton, FL. He is currently a senior professor with the Computer and Electrical Engineering and Computer Science department at Florida Atlantic University. His academic focus is on systems engineering as pertinent to healthcare and education. His intent is to harvest the technological progress made in mobile apps, the semantic web, and data mining to these areas . He has been well funded by the high tech industry over the years. He has 7 US patents, of which 3 have been commercialized by the university. He is a registered Professional Engineer in the state of Florida and a Fellow of the American Heart Association.

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Iris Minor Florida Atlantic University

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Iris Minor is a Graduate Research Assistant and full-time Ph. D. student in the Curriculum and Instruction program at Florida Atlantic University. She received her Master’s degree in Social Work from Barry University and a Bachelor’s in Social Work from the University of Alabama. Her current scholarship focuses on examining democratic education, STEM resiliency, curriculum consciousness and equitable education for African American women. She also examines gender-based educational policy and reform, critical race theory and culturally responsive pedagogy. She has received the Presidential Fellowship at her institution and constantly strives to promote equity within the academy.

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Susanne I Lapp Florida Atlantic University

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Dr. Lapp is an Associate Professor in the Department of Teaching and Learning in the College of Education at Florida Atlantic University where she teaches undergraduate and graduate Content Area Literacy courses. Her research interests include the integration of mobile learning devices in k-12 classrooms.

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Dilys Schoorman Florida Atlantic University

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Dilys Schoorman is Professor and the Chair of the Department of Curriculum, Culture and Educational Inquiry in the College of Education at Florida Atlantic University where she teaches courses in Multicultural/Global Education, Curriculum Theory, and Critical Theory. A native of Sri Lanka, she views herself as a transnational whose experiences in each national context inform and enrich her work and interactions in the other.
As a teacher educator who views curriculum as social justice praxis, her scholarship is informed by her work with historically marginalized populations and their struggles for equitable education for their children in school systems where teachers’ creative potential is hampered by testing regimes and standardization systems. She enjoys collaboration with teachers committed to serving the needs of diverse populations despite the institutional challenges they face, especially at a time when there is a critical need for innovative and creative teaching among our increasingly under-served populations. She is grateful to such communities of practice that foster her continued education as a university professor.
She challenges herself and her students to move beyond teaching and learning as compliance, towards experiencing teaching and learning as joyful, rigorous and transformative.

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Abstract

Research continues to show a consistent decline in the number of students entering the field of Computer Science (CS). Studies also indicate that an optimal time to promote interest in CS is during the middle school years. Yet, most CS courses are only offered as electives, which are not required for graduation. This makes fostering interest in CS at an early age even more challenging. However, some programs, such as the Alice Camps, have successfully encouraged interest in the subject for middle school students. Recently, we completed a community outreach program to provide CS classes for local Title I middle school students attending summer camp. The authors taught an hour-long CS classes to four groups of students. The purpose of the classes was to boost interest in CS by teaching students basic computer programming concepts. The students were also educated about careers that require this skill set and introduced to Processing programming language. We observed that the classes increased enthusiasm towards CS. In addition, we noticed that the group activity component of the classes encouraged sociability and idea synthesis among peers. This CS community outreach program motivated us to create a longer program to teach science concepts using Processing programming language to promote sociability, creativity, and empowerment in STEM for middle school students. Specifically, we plan to use Processing programming language to facilitate learning of science concepts, since such concepts can be difficult for students to visualize. This paper provides details on other researchers’ relevant work in this area, use of Processing programming language, and our plan for data collection and analysis.

Islam, S., & Shankar, R. T., & Minor, I., & Lapp, S. I., & Schoorman, D. (2017, June), Engagement in Practice: Outreach Program to Introduce Computer Science to Middle School Students Paper presented at 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Columbus, Ohio. https://peer.asee.org/28236

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