Public Discussion

  • Icon for: Jessica Hunt

    Jessica Hunt

    Facilitator
    May 11, 2015 | 01:44 p.m.

    I was struck by the excerpts of student perceptions of computer science shared in your presentation. Did you measure student efficacy (e.g., before, during, and after the course) in any way? I also wondered what kinds of indicators of teacher learning and development that you looked for as teachers engaged in and completed each PD component? Lastly, I wondered if you could say more about the phrase “agent-based modeling” for the audience? Thanks!

  • Icon for: Irene Lee

    Irene Lee

    Presenter
    May 11, 2015 | 06:12 p.m.

    We measured student and teacher attitudes toward computer science (CS), interests in CS, and awareness of the applicability of CS before and after their engagement in the program. Indicators for teachers were change in knowledge and skills (assessed with a pre- post- assessment), self-efficacy, implementation success, and interest in continuing to offer the course.

    Agent-based modeling is a type of modeling in which the modeler abstracts a real-world scenario and represents it as a virtual world complete with agents (or individuals or entities) who have behaviors, an environment, and interactions between agents and/or agents and environment. In the virtual world, researchers can run “What if?” scenarios and run time forward to see potential outcomes. This is particularly useful if the experiment is too dangerous, too expensive or too slow to perform in the real world.

  • Icon for: Jessica Hunt

    Jessica Hunt

    Facilitator
    May 11, 2015 | 06:35 p.m.

    Thank you! Did you find changes in knowledge and skills or efficacy?

  • Icon for: Irene Lee

    Irene Lee

    Presenter
    May 11, 2015 | 06:48 p.m.

    Yes, in all three areas there were positive gains. We are still analyzing the data from the student and teacher cohorts but initial findings were very encouraging.

  • Icon for: Neil Plotnick

    Neil Plotnick

    Facilitator
    May 11, 2015 | 01:51 p.m.

    It sounds like you are approaching computer science as a broadly utilized tool to be applied to a wide range of subjects. During your teacher PD, what types of specific languages, applications or web based solutions are you basing your instruction on? Do you have a set of best practices in terms of the technology that you are finding to be most successful?

  • Icon for: Irene Lee

    Irene Lee

    Presenter
    May 11, 2015 | 08:31 p.m.

    We are basing our instruction on an agent-based modeling (ABM) tool developed at Northwestern University called NetLogo.

    Yes, we have a set of best practices that we use. One is a learning trajectory specific to ABM wherein the student modeler/researcher learns to create agents; then move agents in an environment, have them impact the environment and react to the environment; and finally have them react to other agents. With these simple procedures, one can create models of systems from ecosystems, epidemics, economies, social groups, to particles and solar systems, with which to study phenomena scientifically.

    Another best practice is a progression called “Use-Modify-Create.” First a student reads and decodes a simple model, then runs experiments using this model as a test bed, then modifies the model (by writing new procedures or customizing agents) to reflect a local condition or scenario of interest, and finally after a number of modifications or starting from scratch, the student has a created a model that is uniquely their own with which to run experiments to understand the system they are studying.

  • Icon for: Joseph (Joe) Gardella

    Joseph (Joe) Gardella

    Facilitator
    May 11, 2015 | 04:42 p.m.

    Does New Mexico have an idea of how to certify CS teachers? Are CS teachers considered science teachers or technology teachers? Has New Mexico thought about whether a CS course would substitute for biology, chemistry, earth science, environmental science or physics in the usual college prep sequence?

  • Icon for: Irene Lee

    Irene Lee

    Presenter
    May 11, 2015 | 08:31 p.m.

    Good questions! Unfortunately, I don’t think NM has an idea of how to certify CS teachers. The teachers we work with are typically high school STEM teachers who are able to serve as learning coaches or TAs for a flipped dual credit course offered through Univ. of NM. We think CS should be integrated throughout the curriculum as well as offered through standalone CS courses.

  • Icon for: Neil Plotnick

    Neil Plotnick

    Facilitator
    May 12, 2015 | 07:10 p.m.

    Certification issues are not unique to NM! Computer Science is NOT office applications and web design. (Well, just a small part). At my school, CS courses are new and in surrounding districts (Eastern MA) they mostly operate under the business department.

  • Icon for: Stephanie Teasley

    Stephanie Teasley

    Facilitator
    May 13, 2015 | 09:42 p.m.

    Agree very much with the motivation for your project and I hope you are having the impact you hoped for. For the video itself, I would have enjoyed less narration over powerPoint and more about how what you’re doing leads to the kind of impact the students reported in their interviews.

  • Icon for: Joni Falk

    Joni Falk

    Co-Director of CSR at TERC
    May 14, 2015 | 11:42 a.m.

    Fabulous video on expanding access to CS to all students. I love the teachers comments on making the projects relevant to their own communities. Hearing the teachers voices was fabulous! One can hear the impact that this has had on these teachers and no doubt their enthusiasm will spread to the students who they have contact with. Thanks for this!

  • Further posting is closed as the showcase has ended.

  1. Irene Lee
  2. Director, Learning Lab & PI, NM-CSforAll
  3. New Mexico Computer Science for All
  4. http://cs4all.org
  5. Santa Fe Institute
  1. Maureen Psaila-Dombrowski
  2. Program Manager, NM-CSforAll
  3. New Mexico Computer Science for All
  4. http://cs4all.org
  5. Santa Fe Institute

Broadening Participation in Computer Science through Modeling and Simulation
NSF Award #: 1240992

Santa Fe Institute’s New Mexico Computer Science for All (NM-CSforAll) uses computer modeling and simulation to introduce high school teachers and students to computer science. Teachers participate in NM-CSforAll’s comprehensive professional development program then serve as the learning coaches or TA’s for the lab session of the dual credit “Computer Science for All” course offered through the University of New Mexico. As a flipped course, lectures are distributed online while face-to-face lab sessions at participating high schools are used for review and project work.