- Year 2019
- NSF Noyce Award # 1540712
- First Name Cynthia
- Last Name Callard
- Discipline Biology, Chemistry, Geosciences, Math
Carl Mueller, University of Rochester, email@example.com; Raffaella Borasi, University of Rochester, firstname.lastname@example.org; Wendi Heinzelman, University of Rochester, email@example.com; April Luehmann, University of Rochester, firstname.lastname@example.org
Marie Rice, Rochester City School District, email@example.com
The Noyce Master Teaching Fellowship Program (Phase II) at the University of Rochester seeks to assist practicing K-12 Math and Science educators into developing their identity and skills as teacher leaders within their schools and districts. Noyce Fellows were provided with graduate level coursework on designing and developing professional learning opportunities in order to help them learn how to serve the diverse needs of not only their students but their fellow educators in urban and rural settings. Utilizing this approach helps to ensure that the professional colleagues have the opportunity to gain from the learning opportunities that Noyce Fellows were provided.
The guiding questions for this particular poster session are (1) What are some of the benefits of teaching elementary aged students how to code? and (2) How can we help prepare elementary school teachers to engage in using this instructional technique in order to effectively engage students in the learning process?
The approach used for designing these professional learning (PL) opportunities was based on the work of Loucks-Horsley, Stiles, Mundary, Love and Hewson (2010) as presented in their book Designing Professional Development for Teachers of Science and Mathematics. Each Master Teaching Fellow was tasked with determining a need for a particular professional learning topic and then designing and implementing a series of sessions to teach that content area need to their colleagues. As a result of my needs assessment with my own colleagues, I determined that there was a need to engage in work on how to best implement digitally-rich teaching and learning opportunities across our K-6 staff. In particular, I decided that teaching and learning how to code (in various formats) provided high-interest and high-engagement learning opportunities for our learners.
As a result of providing this professional learning opportunity, twelve teachers (and one administrator) learned how to provide coding learning experiences within their classrooms in order to help students develop their 21st century learning skills of critical thinking, collaboration, communication and creativity. Over half of the teachers immediately began implementing this approach within their classrooms before the professional learning series was even completed. All of the attending teachers have expressed commitment to using this approach and to continue to participate in future learning opportunities on this topic.
As a direct result of this professional learning opportunity, teachers have expressed profound interest in learning how to integrate STEM learning within their classrooms in order to provide students with high-interest learning opportunities. Teachers who felt that teaching in this manner was unattainable based on their previous skillset now feel that they are ready to take risks and try teaching with this and other STEM-based learning approaches. Now that they see how a shift in teaching practices can positively impact students, teachers will be offered the opportunity in the upcoming school year to learn about phenomena-based teaching in their science instruction.