story by Claire Miller
College of Education & Human Development faculty members Brendan Calandra and Lauren Margulieux have established a new project to increase computational literacy among K-12 students in rural and low-income communities.
To achieve this, the project, called Micro-credentials for Integrating Computing Responsibly into Other Domains (MICRO), will develop and test an online professional development model for helping K-12 teachers in multiple subject areas to incorporate computing into their existing lessons.
The micro-credentials will involve teachers completing instructional modules online and then demonstrating their knowledge and skills through assessments that can earn them digital badges. The digital badges – web-based images that can be used in portfolios, resumes and social media that link to the teachers’ demonstrated skills – are also stackable, allowing teachers to use credit earned from micro-credentials toward completing an official computer science education endorsement.
“These digital badges can allow teachers to earn credit and receive recognition for demonstrated competencies in computing education without having to enroll in an entire program,” Calandra explained. “This approach is meant to provide access to teachers who might not otherwise enroll in computer science education programs, and consequently help to increase the number of teachers who become interested in, and qualified to include computing in their teaching.”
By the end of the MICRO project, Calandra and Margulieux will have collaborated with the Georgia Department of Education and the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) to ensure the micro-credentials are based on ISTE and state-level standards, and that they are also aligned with the national Computer Science Teacher Association’s standards for computational literacy.
“We hope that this model for Georgia will eventually become scalable beyond our state in order to help broaden participation in computing for students nationwide,” Calandra said.
This work is supported by a two-year, $299,182 grant from the National Science Foundation.