Date of Award

2017

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Education

Department

Education

First Advisor

Kathy Peno

Abstract

The lack of diversity in the technology workforce in the United States has proven to be a stubborn problem, resisitng 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 at public schools go on to careers in technology. The problem persists because computer-science reforms focus primarily on a small percentage of high school students rather than the majority of K-12 students, despite evidence that computer science can help early learners develop valuable thinking, problem-solving and social skills. The purpose of this research is to examine how elementary school teachers use a collaborative lesson study process of professional development, Computer Science Lesson Study, to acquire computer science content knowledge and teaching skills.

This qualitative action research study investigates how elementary school 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 in third-grade classes. The study took place in an urban elementary school serving students from minority groups underrepresented in the technology workforce. The findings indicate that Computer Science Lesson Study provided a high-quality professional development approach for the introduction of computer science to the elementary school curriculum.

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