ExCITE (Exploring Computation Integrated into Technology and Engineering)

Exploring Computation Integrated into Technology and Engineering (ExCITE) is a three-year Medium Size High School Strand CSforAll:RPP Project. ExCITE will develop a professional development (PD) program that will serve as a prototypical model to prepare the nation’s high school (HS) technology and engineering (T&E) teachers to teach an Advanced Placement (AP) level one-year computer science principles (CSP) course within T&E classrooms.

ExCITE will employ the exemplary NSF-developed Beauty and Joy of Computing (BJC) curriculum (NSF 1138596 and 1441075), which will be enhanced to create BJC-T&E, with real-world hands-on problem-solving challenges to increase student engagement and better suit the design-based pedagogy employed by T&E and many other STEM teachers.

Hofstra University’s Center for STEM Research is submitting this proposal in collaboration with The International Technology and Engineering Educators Association (ITEEA), computer science (CS) faculty from North Carolina State University and Boston College, and state education departments and local school districts in Maryland and Virginia.

The Project’s Research Practitioner Partnership (RPP) framework ensures that all stakeholders have been fully engaged in the development and implementation of the PD and research and evaluation programs. ITEEA formed a Research Team (co-PIs, researchers, and evaluators) and a powerful Practitioner Team (T&E teachers and supervisors and state education department supervisors in MD and VA).  

ExCITE’s Design-Based Implementation Research approach will contribute generalizable knowledge about how using T&E problem solving design challenges can improve computer science and computational thinking (CT) teaching and learning efficacy for all students. Formative and summative will measure student and teacher learning, guide iterative development of the PD program, and assess how well Project goals (including research goals) are being met.

Broader Impact

There are approximately 30,000 T&E teachers in the United States who teach students in almost every school district. T&E is central to the delivery of STEM teaching and learning. It’s design-based teaching methodology is multifaceted, encourages generation of creative alternatives, and rejects one-size-fits-all approaches. This pedagogy resonates well with female and male students from diverse backgrounds, including those from underserved and underrepresented populations T&E programs serve all students including those from underrepresented and underserved populations and those who rarely enroll in AP CSP courses. Offering BJC-T&E as part of the ITEEA’s flagship Engineering by Design (EbD © ITEEA) national curriculum will significantly broaden participation in CS and CT for a large cohort of students (and their teachers) and expand access to BJC-T&E to diverse populations nationwide. ExCITE will add a significant new dimension to T&E teaching and learning and to the STEM education delivery system, resulting in more students becoming engaged and competent in CS and CT. The BJC-TE curriculum will reside on an open-access website hosted by ITEEA and be updated yearly. ITEEA will sustain Project PD activities as well as the Community of Practice forum through continuing outreach and advocacy after the conclusion of the NSF funding cycle.