College of Education and Human Development - George Mason University

Preparing K-5 Teachers to Integrate the Computer Science Standards of Learning in Inclusive Classrooms to Support Students with High Incidence Disabilities

August 28, 2018

This project brings together faculty from George Mason University and Old Dominion University, the non-profit group CodeVA and Norfolk City Public Schools (NCPS) to broaden participation in Computer Science in Virginia. The purpose of the proposed project is to use a Design Based Implementation Research (DBIR) process to refine an effective professional development (PD) model to support elementary teachers in inclusive classrooms in integrating recently-mandated computer science (CS) standards into math, science, and literacy instruction in ways accessible to students with high-incidence disabilities (e.g. learning disabilities, emotional or behavioral disorders, mild intellectual disability, high-functioning autism, and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder).

Although there has been an increase in efforts to introduce computational thinking and CS into secondary schools, most initiatives have not been designed to develop related knowledge and skills necessary for elementary in-service teachers. This work is particularly important in Virginia because it is the first state to adopt mandatory CS standards for grades K-5. Theoretically and conceptually, the proposed research will contribute to pedagogical strategies and approaches for integrating computer science and understanding how elementary teachers understand computer science standards and approach CS integration.

The Universal Design for Learning instructional framework will guide the implementation team and partner educators to design instruction to meet the needs of all learners, including those with disabilities, by addressing barriers to learning. The proposed research will examine CS sequencing through grade-appropriate progressions by drawing on the expert insights of elementary classroom teachers. The project also seeks to develop disciplinary literacy through CS as students use various strategies to read, write, and communicate their understanding within and among various disciplines.

Combined, these efforts will help answer the overarching question: How do multiple stakeholders collaboratively refine and develop effective and sustainable professional development on the integration of computer science in K-5 inclusive classrooms to support students with high incidence disabilities?

For more information, visit the NSF award page or contact Amy Hutchison.