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Reframing coding as “Mathematization” in the K12 classroom

Date: April 2018
Author(s): Pratim Sengupta, Barbara Brown, Kenzie Rushton, and Marie Claire Shanahan

There is now a growing body of literature that argues for the use of computational programming and modelling in K–12 science classrooms. However, one of the common pedagogical challenges of using computational modelling in the classroom is the overhead of learning programming, which interrupts curricular flow because it requires specialized technical knowledge. In this article, our goal will be to illustrate a pathway for integrating computational modelling and programming in the science classroom for teachers with little or no background in programming. Drawing upon our findings from an ongoing series of design-based professional learning sessions with 56 teachers in K–12 public and charter schools in Alberta organized by the Galileo Educational Network, we will argue that (a) when teachers, with little or no background in programming, view programming as a way to “mathematize” the world, they can visualize and implement seamless integration of programming and modelling with their science curricula; and (b) the use of multiple and complementary forms of programming and modelling (e.g., physical, virtual and embodied) can facilitate such integration.

Sengupta, P., Brown, B., Rushton, K., & Shanahan, M. C. (2018). Reframing coding as “Mathematization” in the K12 classroom: Views from teacher professional learning. Alberta Science Educational Journal, 45(2), 28-36.