Pivoting in a Pandemic: Transitioning from In-person to Virtual K-8 Computing Professional Development

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Association of Computing Machinery (ACM)
This poster reports on year one of a three-year NSF-funded Research Practitioner Partnership (RPP) to develop a K-8 pipeline for computer science (CS) and computational thinking (CT) education within two rural school districts in Eastern Kentucky: Pikeville Independent School District and Floyd County Schools. Economically devastated by the departure of the coal industry, these communities are committed to developing high-quality computing curricula for all students, beginning in their earliest years. The poster has two components. First, through a mixture of qualitative measures, the poster reports on the genesis and development of the RPP. It focuses on the RPP's origin in leveraging the districts' existing relationship with Pennsylvania's South Fayette School District, which has developed one of the nation's leading programs for teacher professional development (PD) in K-12 computing. The second component of the poster focuses on the development of a series of summer workshops for Kentucky Appalachia K-8 instructors to learn the basics of CS and CT and how to integrate these skills and concepts into existing K-8 coursework. Of course, the RPP faced new challenges with COVID-19 most notably, the need to offer these summer workshops remotely, and adjusting the objectives and research questions accordingly. Through focus groups with the PD instructional team and survey responses from the KY teacher workshop participants, the poster will report on the pedagogical implications of offering teacher PD exclusively online and what the ramifications have been for Pikeville and Floyd County children with the return to school in the Fall of 2020.
Kentucky Appalachia, computational thinking, virtual professional development, community cultural wealth, culturally responsive rural education