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CSinPA

Working with the Pennsylvania Department of Education’s Bureau of Special Education, PaTTAN provides a full array of professional development and technical assistance targeted to improving student results. This professional development and technical assistance takes many forms in order to meet the varied needs of PaTTAN’s constituents. Week-long summer institutes, ongoing professional development series, webinars, on-site assistance, and individual student or teacher supports are some of the means by which PaTTAN provides support to schools.

 

Developed for Governor Tom Wolf’s PAsmart Initiative, the CS Teacher Toolkit, CS Administrator Toolkit, and Family Toolkit are collections of resources for equitable CS education for all students including students of color, historically underrepresented populations, English language learners (ELLs) and students with disabilities. 
 

THE CHALLENGE

While Pennsylvania K-12 engagement in CS has increased over the past three years, large gaps remain; less than 24% of students across the commonwealth participated in CS learning in the 2019-20 school year. Of the approximately 339,000 Pennsylvania students engaging in computer science courses K - 12, less than 23% are students of color and less than 4% are English language learners.

 

Providing all learners with equitable access to CS has been further complicated by the COVID-19 pandemic, which has created significant challenges and barriers for schools. When all LEAs closed in March, 2018-19 targeted grant recipients were forced to postpone or significantly alter their CS education plans.

 

After nearly a year of iterative development, many found their pilot programs unsuitable for virtual or hybrid learning.

Playing on the Computer
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THE SOLUTION

Developed in collaboration with For the Win (FTW) Robotics and PA Rural Robotics, the CSinPA Drones, For the Win! professional learning program empowers educators to engage in and create CS learning experiences using drone technology. Supporting both in-person and virtual learning, the program aims to be a catalyst for 2018-19 Targeted Grant LEAS to continue expanding access to CS education.

The program is designed to support all educators (both ambassadors and participants) to reach the same program objectives:

  • Develop and identify STEM and CS instructional materials that are standards-aligned, universally designed and culturally relevant for in-person, hybrid, and/or distance learning environments

  • Recognize and create a plan to close equity gaps in CS education, specifically for students with disabilities and other historically underrepresented populations, such as students of color and female students

 

  • Articulate the need for CS education in our communities by describing real-life examples and applications

  • Demonstrate foundational CS content knowledge and skills

Image by Christian Wiediger

RESULTS

What started out as a summer camp in the uncertainty of a pandemic, has grown into a successful STEM-based drone program throughout the state of Pennsylvania. Through a partnership with PATTAN and For the Win Robotics, teachers across the state have been providing their students with the opportunity and technology to learn how to build and fly drones.

 

As part of Pennsylvania’s PASmart programming, 9 teachers were able to participate in a pilot program aimed at teaching students how to build a drone, learn about flight controls, and autonomous flight through coding. Over 2,600 students have participated in the program and there has been a significant increase in participation in the STEM based curriculum from students with disabilities and other historically underrepresented populations such as students of color and female students.

 

Much of the success of the B|F|C program would have not been possible without the hard work and ingenuity of these educators, partners and supporters of the program. This work has led to an expansion of the program throughout the state and drones in the hands of thousands of students.

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