Computer Science Lesson Study: Building Computing Skills among Elementary School Teachers

Thomas R Newman, University of Rhode Island


The lack of diversity in the technology workforce in the United States has proven to be a stubborn problem, resisting even the most well-funded reform efforts. With the absence of computer science education in the mainstream K-12 curriculum, only a narrow band of students in public schools go on to careers in technology. The problem persists because computer science reforms often focus resources primarily on high schools rather than on elementary school students. Studies show that computer science in elementary grade levels provides students not only with fundamental skills in computer science but also with valuable thinking, problem solving, and social skills that help them succeed in other subjects. The purpose of this research is to examine how teachers use a collaborative lesson study process of professional development to develop computer science content knowledge and teaching skills. ^ This qualitative action research study examined an approach to professional development in computer science based on lesson study, a teacher-led form of professional development that originated in Japan. This study examined how third grade teachers, working with a computer science professor from a local university, worked collaboratively over a twelve-week timeframe to teach computer science and computer programming lessons to over one hundred students. The study took place in an urban elementary school serving students from minority groups underrepresented in the technology workforce. Results of this study suggest that professional development in computer science, based on lesson study, provided an effective approach to introduce computer science to the elementary school curriculum.^

Subject Area

Teacher education|Computer science

Recommended Citation

Thomas R Newman, "Computer Science Lesson Study: Building Computing Skills among Elementary School Teachers" (2017). Dissertations and Master's Theses (Campus Access). Paper AAI10260505.