Research Experience for Teachers (RET)

As originally funded, the Computational Thinking across the Curriculum project focused on post-secondary education. Unfortunately a minority of people in the United States attends and graduates from colleges and universities. For this reason, an extension of the project into the K-12 curriculum is vital. The project received a Research Experience for Teachers (RET) supplement beginning June 2010, and it was expanded to include materials appropriate for the K-12 curriculum.

Working with three faculty from the University of Chicago Lab Schools materials appropriate for the K-12 curriculum are under development. Initial work will focus on 5th, 6th, and 9th grade computer science courses and a high-school Latin course. The initial work will have two stages. In the first stage classroom materials, activities, and assignments for each course will be developed. In the next stage the materials will be deployed and evaluated. The materials will be evaluated for their ability to improve the classroom experience, engage the students, and improve understanding of computational thinking. Dissemination of the results will occur in relevant conferences, workshops, and journals.

Finally, the work done by the three initial teachers funded by the RET supplement will be extended by other faculty at the University of Chicago Lab Schools. Like the original project, the goal is to include faculty in as many different disciplines as possible. Faculty in the Departments of English, Fine Arts, and History have shown interest in the project. The second set of faculty will include computational thinking materials in courses outside of computing, much as in the DePaul University stage of the project.