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QUEST CT Profile


Quality Understanding and Engagement for Students and Teachers on Computational Thinking (QUEST CT)

Overview:

The project "Quality Understanding and Engagement for Students and Teachers on Computational Thinking" (QUEST CT) was submitted to is STEM+C (STEM + Computing Partnerships) which is a program that challenges STEM educators to approach education with a new lens - integrating Computational Thinking as part of traditional STEM disciplinary learning. The significance of the QUEST CT project is that it will (1) develop a model for teacher professional development to support integration of Computational Thinking into STEM classroom activities, and (2) broaden the participation of students from traditionally underrepresented groups in STEM and computing through the combination of formal and informal learning experiences. The project will directly impact more than 1000 students as 18 project teachers implement Computational Thinking-integrated science lessons into classroom activities over two years. The Computational Thinking lessons developed and field tested by teachers will contribute to the need for exemplary resources that effectively integrate Computational Thinking concepts into existing STEM classroom content and will be available to all educators.

The goals of QUEST CT are: to increase teacher knowledge and ability to integrate Computational Thinking as defined by ISTE (International Society for Technology in Education) and CSTA (Computer Science Teachers Association) into fifth and sixth grade science lessons and activities; and to increase student STEM interest and understanding of Computational Thinking concepts in the context of learning science. With support from various school districts, the project will engage 18 fifth and sixth grade teachers in professional development including a summer academy, coached lesson development, and professional learning communities. Each year, more than 500 students from three school districts that reflect varying levels of diversity will be involved in the project through formal classroom activities and informal events such as summer camp, after school clubs and family nights. Ongoing mentoring and support from the project leadership will allow close monitoring of project progress. Graduate and undergraduate computer science students will provide technical support for teachers as they implement Computational Thinking learning experiences. The project uses a combination of two educational research approaches: exploratory research and design and development research. The fundamental education problem addressed is to design and implement an intervention that replaces the disjointed efforts to integrate Computational Thinking into STEM within K-12.