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E-Textiles Profile

Integration of Computing with Electronic Textiles to Improve Teaching and Learning of Electronics in Secondary Science


This project will integrate computational thinking and electronics concepts in middle and high school classrooms using electronic textiles (e-textiles) projects for students. The content of the projects includes electricity, conductive materials, programming and computational thinking. This project builds on significant work already underway in which e-textiles have been used in out-of-class situations and are beginning the transition to classroom use. The primary implementation activity will be providing professional development to teachers about computational thinking and e-textiles. The project includes scaling up to a large number of teachers. It also includes rural schools in the region of the university. The research and development plan includes collaboration between education faculty and computer science and engineering faculty. As a STEM+C project it nicely integrates computational thinking within the context of science classrooms and presents a model for instruction that could apply to other topics. The STEM+Computing Partnership (STEM+C) program seeks to advance multidisciplinary integration of computing in STEM teaching and learning through applied research and development across one or more domains; integration of STEM in computer science; and broadening participation in computer science. Investments are made in critical areas of pedagogy, pre-service and in-service teacher professional development.

The goal of the project is to create and deploy e-textile projects for classroom use in middle and high school science classrooms for electronics concepts. The plan also includes designing professional development for teachers about the computational thinking concepts and the e-textiles projects. The mixed methods research design will collect qualitative artifacts and journal reflections from teachers regarding classroom implementation and quantitative data in the form of observation instruments and survey results. The student-level research questions focus on students' engagement, computing interest, sense of self-concept, and learning gains in electricity concepts. The teacher-level questions examine instructional practices teachers use in implementation of e-textiles projects in science classes. These questions employ both treatment and comparison groups. Data collection includes surveys of students' interest and self-concept as well as students' knowledge assessments. The teacher-level question examines instructional practices using classroom observations with the Reformed Teaching Observation Protocol, computational thinking frameworks, teacher reflections, artifacts from classroom implementation, and semi-structured interviews.