Research to Practice Update

We have been busy this summer analyzing data for three computing related projects. These projects have once again highlighted how lucky we are to be working with such great colleagues, graduate students, and faculty. As these papers go out for review, we will update you on progress. For now, here’s the synopsis of one study.

Computing case studies across students with disabilities: In the spring, we collected data across two students with fairly significant disabilities because we wanted to know their experiences during computing instruction, the types of supports they were receiving, and the perceptions of their teachers and support staff. We were happy that these students, with the right supports and accommodations, could be successful during computing. Although simplified, the findings are as follows: For one of the students, who had significant behavior needs, engagement and time on task during computing rose sharply once an appropriate behavior intervention was in place. For the other student, who had autism and very limited language skills, support included giving him full access to the computer rather than having his experience be mediated by a support staff. Although this is not a ground-shattering new development, it lends to our equity argument that computing benefits a wide range of learners, including students with disabilities.

I will report on our studies related to using the Collaborative Computing Observation Instrument (C-COI) to study collaborative computing as well as on the integrated computing and mathematics study in my following post.

Lastly, look for our latest paper, “Empowering K-12 students with disabilities to learn computational thinking and computer programming” in the October issue of TEACHING Exceptional Children.