Integrating STEM and Computer Science into the Elementary Day from videohall.com on Vimeo.

Research Approach

Research-Practice Partnership

Organizational and educational change theory indicates that making progress toward lasting change requires collaboration between researchers and practitioners, each of whom bring different perspectives and expertise to the process. This idea has recently grown in education research with an expansion from more traditional research design to research-practice partnerships (RPPs) that work to improve educational practice through close collaboration between researchers and educators. RPPs in a variety of fields have shown promise for developing successful interventions and positively impacting youth. BCPS and Outlier have established such a partnership. As such, we meet regularly to discuss project progress, evaluator feedback, and the practical aspects of project data collection. Additionally, when the analysis is complete, we will work together to discuss and implement ways to use and share the study findings to inform and further computer science in BCPS and across the nation.

Studying Implementation

We are creating model for integrating science, mathematics, and computer science into literacy instruction. This model includes:

  1. 1Two interdisciplinary modules for grades three to five
  2. 2Teacher professional development in CS content and integration of content into the elementary literacy block
  3. 3Identification of the support structures including the level of district leaders’, collaborators’, and other key stakeholders’ engagement required for successfully integrating CS within the elementary day
Picture with two students

Each interdisciplinary module has elements addressing science, social studies, and computer science content, aligned to the goals of learning reading skills within the literacy block. Throughout the project, formative evaluation on developing the model, along with summative analysis of data and outcomes on testing the model pilot, will inform a discussion of the structural changes necessary for sustainable integration of CS in the elementary school curriculum.