Computer Science and Engineering Education for Pre-collegiate Students and Teachers

A special issue of Education Sciences (ISSN 2227-7102).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 January 2019) | Viewed by 29216

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Special Issue Editor

School of Teacher Education, University of Wyoming, 1000 E University Ave, Laramie, WY 82071, USA
Interests: science education; STEM integration; teaching and learning partnerships; teaching; pedagogy and education; professional development; teacher training; curriculum development; pedagogy; collaborative learning; teaching experience
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Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

There are widespread areas to explore in both engineering education and computer science education. While computer science has roots in mathematics and is often seen as a branch of engineering, based on Johri and Olds’ Cambridge Handbook of Engineering Education Research (2014) and Kadijevich, Angeli, and Schulte's Improving Computer Science Education (2013), exploration of computer science and engineering education offers a rich field of study.

This Special Issue “Computer Science and Engineering Education for Pre-Collegiate Students and Teachers” is a mechanism to advance and capture the current conversation about computer science and engineering education in pre-collegiate schools—worldwide—by using current research studies in the area. Quantitative, qualitative, mixed methods, and action research methodologies are welcome for this special issue. A clear problem and research questions, appropriate theoretical framework, literature review, methodology and methods, analysis, conclusions, and limitations are expected for all submitted articles.

Additionally, there are many resources that this special issue could highlight and bring to the forefront of computer science education. Authors of potential articles should consider including a successful lesson or professional development activity as exemplars of “ideas to try”. A special issue in computer science and engineering education also warrants connection to other disciplines (science, technology, engineering, mathematics, among others) in order to highlight how current teachers (and students) can enhance what they are already considering or implementing in pre-collegiate classrooms (that might even seem distant from these research areas). Engineering, technology, and computer science standards from states, countries, and organizations are welcome and encouraged as a piece of the research studies as well.

Questions to consider when writing about pre-collegiate computer science and engineering research studies: (1) What courses are offered at the pre-collegiate level in computer science and/or engineering in the geographic area of the study? (2) Are the courses offered in isolation or combined with another subject? (3) Who (teacher and/or student) has access to the computer science and engineering courses? (4) What approaches are used in the computer science and engineering courses? (5) What professional development learning opportunities are available for teachers delivering computer science and engineering course content? (6) What standards do teachers and students use in computer science and engineering courses? (7) What is needed to move pre-collegiate computer science and engineering education forward as a field? (8) What collaborative partnerships have enabled successful adoption of computer science and engineering education in pre-collegiate environments? and (9) other questions related to context, successes, and challenges in pre-collegiate computer science and engineering education.

Finally, consider this: How close are we—as a worldwide community—to the vision set forth for 2020 in Greening’s Computer Science Education in the 21st Century (2000)?

Dr. Andrea Burrows
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a double-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Education Sciences is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • engineering education
  • computer science
  • pre-collegiate teachers
  • pre-collegiate students
  • K-12, NGSS

Published Papers (6 papers)

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Research

25 pages, 914 KiB  
Article
A Systematic Review Exploring the Differences in Reported Data for Pre-College Educational Activities for Computer Science, Engineering, and Other STEM Disciplines
Educ. Sci. 2019, 9(2), 69; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci9020069 - 30 Mar 2019
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 4664
Abstract
There has been considerable investment in pre-college educational interventions for all areas of STEM (including computer science). The goal of many of these initiatives is to engage and interest students early in their educational career. In this study, a systematic literature review was [...] Read more.
There has been considerable investment in pre-college educational interventions for all areas of STEM (including computer science). The goal of many of these initiatives is to engage and interest students early in their educational career. In this study, a systematic literature review was undertaken to determine the demographic and program data collected and reported for the field of computing education and for other STEM disciplines for activities that were not designed as part of the formal in-class curriculum (e.g., outreach activities). A comparison-contrast analysis of the resulting 342 articles found similarities and key differences in the reporting of this data as well as overarching characteristics of missing or incomplete reporting across disciplines. Authors from both fields reported equally well in the four categories studied: information about evaluation, participant gender, participant race and/or ethnicity, and activity demographics. However, the computing education articles were more likely to have clearly stated research questions and comparative analysis based on demographic characteristics. They were less likely to include the number of participants in the study, participant age/grade level, socioeconomic status, disability information, location of intervention, and instructor demographics. Through this analysis, it was determined that reporting can be improved across all disciplines to improve the quantity of data needed to replicate studies and to provide complete data sets that provide for the comparison of collected data. Full article
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16 pages, 492 KiB  
Article
Ants Go Marching—Integrating Computer Science into Teacher Professional Development with NetLogo
Educ. Sci. 2019, 9(1), 66; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci9010066 - 26 Mar 2019
Cited by 13 | Viewed by 4928
Abstract
There is a clear call for pre-collegiate students in the United States to become literate in computer science (CS) concepts and practices through integrated, authentic experiences and instruction. Yet, a majority of in-service and pre-service pre-collegiate teachers (instructing children aged five to 18) [...] Read more.
There is a clear call for pre-collegiate students in the United States to become literate in computer science (CS) concepts and practices through integrated, authentic experiences and instruction. Yet, a majority of in-service and pre-service pre-collegiate teachers (instructing children aged five to 18) lack the fundamental skills and self-efficacy to adequately and effectively integrate CS into existing curricula. In this study, 30 pre-collegiate teachers who represent a wide band of experience, grade-levels, and prior CS familiarity participated in a 16-day professional development (PD) course to enhance their content knowledge and self-efficacy in integrating CS into existing lessons and curricula. Using both qualitative and quantitative methodology, a social constructivist approach guided the researchers in the development of the PD, as well as the data collection and analysis on teacher content knowledge and perceptions through a mixed-methods study. Ultimately, participants were introduced to CS concepts and practices through NetLogo, which is a popular multi-agent simulator. The results show that although the pre-collegiate teachers adopted CS instruction, the CS implementation within their curricula was limited to the activities and scope of the PD with few adaptations and minimal systemic change in implementation behaviors. Full article
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31 pages, 4082 KiB  
Article
An Entrepreneurship Venture for Training K–12 Teachers to Use Engineering as a Context for Learning
Educ. Sci. 2019, 9(1), 54; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci9010054 - 11 Mar 2019
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 5205
Abstract
In this paper, the authors present their experiences from participating in a National Science Foundation (NSF) I-Corps L training program established for business startups, using Blank’s Lean LaunchPad, Osterwalder’s Business Model Canvas, and associated tools. They used the entrepreneurial skills acquired through this [...] Read more.
In this paper, the authors present their experiences from participating in a National Science Foundation (NSF) I-Corps L training program established for business startups, using Blank’s Lean LaunchPad, Osterwalder’s Business Model Canvas, and associated tools. They used the entrepreneurial skills acquired through this training to scale-up their emerging innovation, the Cincinnati Engineering Enhanced Math and Science Program (CEEMS), which had been developed, implemented, and evaluated with successful results over a period of seven years in a targeted 14 school-district partnership in Greater Cincinnati. The overriding goal was to improve student learning and success rates in K–12 math and science courses by helping to accelerate the process of bringing effective educational innovation, CEEMS, to scale. In CEEMS, teachers were trained in using challenge-based learning (CBL) and the engineering design process (EDP), teaching pedagogies to transform their classrooms into student-centered, hands-on learning environments, while also assisting students to improve their evaluation scores related to science, math, and engineering instruction. CEEMS teachers acquired the necessary skills through coursework, professional development (PD) workshops, and longitudinal professional guidance provided by assigned coaches over a period of two years to become proficient in developing CBL–EDP curriculum, teaching it, and assessing student learning and reflecting after teaching. The authors have documented how they used customer market research conducted during the I-Corps L training to define their minimum viable product (MVP) to duplicate the successful CEEMS methodology through a condensed (≤16 week) self-paced, completely online training program with virtual coaching support. The authors also describe the process they used to move forward very quickly from an MVP to a more complete product offering, its branding, the process of trademarking it, and finally licensing it to an established non-profit organization (NPO) for future marketing. Details of the whole experience are presented with the hope that it will serve as a useful guide for other venture creators. Full article
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18 pages, 21719 KiB  
Article
Exploring Secondary Students’ Alternative Conceptions about Engineering Design Technology
Educ. Sci. 2019, 9(1), 45; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci9010045 - 24 Feb 2019
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 4749
Abstract
This paper presents the assessment items that were developed by science and technology teachers in Québec to explore their students’ alternative ideas about engineering design technology and technological systems. These assessment items were administered to Secondary Cycle One students in Francophone and Anglophone [...] Read more.
This paper presents the assessment items that were developed by science and technology teachers in Québec to explore their students’ alternative ideas about engineering design technology and technological systems. These assessment items were administered to Secondary Cycle One students in Francophone and Anglophone schools in Québec to elicit their ideas about the foundational technology concepts included in the science and technology curriculum. Students’ responses are presented to share their alternative and scientific explanations. In addition, various approaches to facilitate a deeper understanding of scientific models and mechanistic reasoning in students are also discussed. Full article
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23 pages, 4725 KiB  
Article
Secondary Science Preservice Teachers’ Perceptions of Engineering: A Learner Analysis
Educ. Sci. 2019, 9(1), 29; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci9010029 - 29 Jan 2019
Cited by 11 | Viewed by 4587
Abstract
The purpose of this study was to describe how US secondary science preservice teachers, or those preparing to teach middle and high school science, at one university, perceive engineering and teaching engineering within an epistemological framework of required domain components pre- and post-instruction [...] Read more.
The purpose of this study was to describe how US secondary science preservice teachers, or those preparing to teach middle and high school science, at one university, perceive engineering and teaching engineering within an epistemological framework of required domain components pre- and post-instruction (intervention) as well as over three cohort years. Their perceptions reveal relevant prior beliefs helpful for designing instruction to address an external need to prepare secondary science teachers to teach disciplinary content ideas, cross-cutting concepts, and science and engineering practices to meet the Next Generation Science Standards. Questionnaires administered pre- and post-instruction (intervention), as well as over three years, asked participants to decide whether various scenarios qualified as engineering and then to provide reasoning. Intervention instruction included whole-class discussions of engineering design practices. The responses to the questionnaire were analyzed for thematic content. The results indicate that the secondary science preservice teachers (n = 43) have a novice understanding of engineering and teaching engineering. They gain an emerging understanding during the secondary science methods courses, consistent in all three years with expanding perspectives from narrow discipline views. As their perceptions are refined, however, there are risks of oversimplification, which may lead to forming misconceptions. The recommendations for designing instruction such as secondary science methods courses and early career professional development include creating opportunities for preservice and early career teachers to explore and challenge their perceptions of engineering design practices integrated within science and engineering practices. Full article
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14 pages, 4143 KiB  
Article
Training Future Engineers to Be Ghostbusters: Hunting for the Spectral Environmental Radioactivity
Educ. Sci. 2019, 9(1), 15; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci9010015 - 15 Jan 2019
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 4029
Abstract
Although environmental radioactivity is all around us, the collective public imagination often associates a negative feeling to this natural phenomenon. To increase the familiarity with this phenomenon we have designed, implemented, and tested an interdisciplinary educational activity for pre-collegiate students in which nuclear [...] Read more.
Although environmental radioactivity is all around us, the collective public imagination often associates a negative feeling to this natural phenomenon. To increase the familiarity with this phenomenon we have designed, implemented, and tested an interdisciplinary educational activity for pre-collegiate students in which nuclear engineering and computer science are ancillary to the comprehension of basic physics concepts. Teaching and training experiences are performed by using a 4” × 4” NaI(Tl) detector for in-situ and laboratory γ-ray spectroscopy measurements. Students are asked to directly assemble the experimental setup and to manage the data-taking with a dedicated Android app, which exploits a client-server system that is based on the Bluetooth communication protocol. The acquired γ-ray spectra and the experimental results are analyzed using a multiple-platform software environment and they are finally shared on an open access Web-GIS service. These all-round activities combining theoretical background, hands-on setup operations, data analysis, and critical synthesis of the results were demonstrated to be effective in increasing students’ awareness in quantitatively investigating environmental radioactivity. Supporting information to the basic physics concepts provided in this article can be found at http://www.fe.infn.it/radioactivity/educational. Full article
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