Delivering virtual K-8 computing professional development in rural KY

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Association of Computing Machinery (ACM)
Teachers living and working in rural areas in the United States often lack access to high-quality professional development (PD) opportunities. As computer science (CS) and computational thinking (CT) education pathways increasingly develop in rural districts, it is essential to provide quality PD for their teachers so they can identify opportunities for and plan to embed CS and CT learning in their classrooms. A key element in delivering high-quality PD is understanding the specific educational and wider cultural needs of the community where it will be delivered, something we call “mining cultural capital”. In this poster, we report on the delivery of four 30-minute virtual PD sessions within two rural school districts in Eastern Kentucky: Pikeville Independent and Floyd County Schools. The virtual sessions were specifically geared toward elementary and middle school teachers. The sessions were led by a long-time educator in the region who worked to curate relevant examples and delivered the PD via a recorded video conference. The recordings are available for teachers in the region to watch and re-watch as they develop their lessons. Survey results showed that participating teachers found the PD to be valuable. Furthermore, feedback from teachers suggests that access to these short just-in-time PD sessions provided valuable learning opportunities and also sparked new lesson ideas for teachers.
Kentucky Appalachia, computational thinking, professional development, culturally responsive rural education