Recent National Science Foundation grant explores integration of computer science and computational thinking in to K-2 literacy

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There’s little doubt that computer science (CS) education and an understanding of computational thinking (CT) are critical to students’ future success. To meet the goal of engaging students (particularly underrepresented students) in CS and CT, the process must begin in early elementary years. Literacy is a strong push at the kindergarten through second-grade levels and seems to be a prime opportunity to integrate CT-related subject matter.

Kristina Tank, associate professor in the School of Education, is part of a three-year grant award sponsored by the National Science Foundation titled, Collaborative Research: Rethinking Circle Time, integrating computational thinking in to K-2 literacy.

In this collaborative project, Tank will work with researchers at Indiana University and Purdue University to explore rethinking traditional literacy “circle time” as a venue for incorporating CS/CT learnings.

The team will explore multiple types of activities that include plugged and unplugged approaches as well as computational toys to guide high-level instructional practices that support enhanced CT understanding and abilities for all students.