This award provides funding for a new Research Experiences for Teachers (RET) Site focused on robotics at the University of California-Davis. Forty five in-service and pre-service computer science and STEM teachers will be paired with faculty mentors to conduct cutting-edge research related to computing and robotics during a six week summer program. The RET teachers will also develop curricular materials for the integration of computing concepts into STEM disciplines and implement related research-based activities in their classrooms during the academic year. The program includes two sequences of workshops and a summer symposium to explore the impact on the teachers' knowledge, experiences, and instructional practice and to reach out to other teachers in the local community. The RET Fellows will become master teachers and assist in providing other secondary school teachers with professional development in computing, thereby broadening the impact and sustainability of the project.
Intellectual merit: The intellectual merit of this project lies with the strong research mentor team and excellent infrastructure at the university for the project. The project builds on prior research and pilot studies. The projects are compelling and of current interest and are exciting for teachers and their students. The new research-based curriculum implemented In schools during the academic year should provide important research-based methods for developing computational thinking competencies at the K-12 level.
Broader impacts: The program plans to target in-service teachers from the Yolo county school district as well as pre-service education students at the university. The target schools have a large population of underrepresented and economically disadvantaged students who will be impacted. National and international dissemination of the results and the curricular materials will open the pathways for replication and broader impact that is pervasive and fundamental to moving the underlying concepts into the K-12 arena.