Visualization Basics: Using Gaming to Improve Computational Thinking (UGame-ICompute)
The Visualization Basics: Using Gaming to Improve Computation Thinking project began a pilot study year with 12 teachers of grades 5-9 and 133 students who were enrolled in robotics/gaming clubs in rural and small towns in Wyoming in the spring of 2014.
This ITEST Strategies project is developing, implementing and studying an intervention for students and teachers in ten elementary/middle schools in Wyoming that includes computational thinking and spatial visualization in the contexts of gaming and robotics. It is impacting 42 teachers and their students. The project is delivering the content using culturally responsive pedagogy (CRP). The CRP emphasis is being implemented in the proposed intervention and is strongly reflected in the project personnel, which includes representatives from African American, Latino, and Asian cultures, as well as in the recruitment plan, which also includes underrepresented minorities, females and disabled persons. The lead institution is the University of Wyoming, with cooperation from the National Center for Atmospheric Research and evaluation by MERAssociates. Alexander Repenning of the University of Colorado, an expert on computational thinking, is a consultant and advisor on the project.
Research questions are investigating: 1) the strategies most likely to develop student skills in computational thinking and spatial visualization; 2) the strategies most likely to develop student interest, readiness, and participation in STEM careers; 3) the strategies teachers use to infuse culturally responsive pedagogy and develop student understanding of computational thinking in math and science courses; and 4) how the project leverages the social and cultural capacity of the cultural and STEM communities. The evaluator is primarily responsible for collecting and analyzing the data, with oversight from the Advisory Board. Data sources include document review, surveys, interviews, and student performance data. Analyses are being conducted to exam variances associated with gender, ethnicity, and English proficiency.