Park City Education Foundation Sees Positive Results from Computational Thinking Program Pilot at Ecker Middle School
3PARK CITY, Utah – The Park City Education Foundation continued to see positive results from implementing its computational thinking pilot program at Ecker Hill Middle School as part of its STEM (Science. Technology) learning strategy. .Engineering.Math.).
Since 1986, PCEF donors have been funding education programs for nearly 40 years through classroom grants to provide a better classroom experience for students. Beginning in 2015, the PCEF provided funding for ground-breaking elementary coding programs which then launched this three-year pilot project which emphasizes a computational thinking program.
Created by Summer Marshall and Lyndsay Huntsman (PCSD Director PCCAPS & CTE), 10 teachers – in subjects such as DLI Spanish, Physical Education, Music and Social Studies – are guided and supported by the coach of computer integration Summer Marshall.
“[The program] was created by Lindsey Huntsman who is the Director of CTE and PC Caps for the Park City School District, along with Summer Marshall. Ecker Hill’s computer integration coach saw this challenge and his response was to create access to computer science education, integrating it into other classrooms, such as physical education, math and language lessons. So instead of having it as a standalone, it was infusing computational thinking into different classes that students were already taking,” said PCEF program director Kara Cody.
The program labels the stages of teaching computer science (CS instruction), which allows it to be applied to any subject. It encourages students to think critically and creatively, embrace failure and discover resilience, engage collaboratively, and communicate effectively by following a five-step process.
1. Breakdown: Break it down into parts
2. Abstraction: Remove unnecessary information + Keep key elements
3. Patterns: spotting and using similarities
4. Algorithms: creating a step-by-step process
5. Evaluation: make sure the solution is good
Just over a week ago, this process was demonstrated in a dual immersion Spanish class where students identified grammar items and connected them to a story using Ozobot to explain their relationship. Then they used specialist markers to draw a story map on a poster for the Ozobot to follow, all in Spanish.
“The teacher asks her students to use computational thinking, and the students read the text in extremely different ways. They imagine a treasure mark, there’s an X marks the spot, and then you walk the board. C is much more convenient and engaging than just reading and chatting,” Kara Cody said.
As the program continues to see notable success and great response from students and teachers, Cody highlighted both the dedication of their amazing educators and the community donations that have made this groundbreaking program possible and effective.
“The teachers who were willing to be those early adopters and be part of that speak really well of the incredible educators we have here in Park City. This is just one example of how amazing they are,” Cody said.
“I also want to thank the Park City community and our donors for their support, because that’s really how we can fund programs like Computational Thinking,” Cody continued. “We are able to invest more than $1 million each year in programs that directly impact every student in the Park City School District, and we couldn’t do it without the support of the community.”