Building on a prior partnership, this STEM-C Partnership's Computer Science Education Expansion project will permanently increase and enhance computer science learning opportunities for high school students in the Black Hills and across South Dakota. Over a three-year period, this Partnership will support twenty-four teachers in offering the Exploring Computer Science (ECS) course. This Partnership is coordinated by Black Hills State University. Additional Partners include multiple school districts, Technology and Innovation in Education, the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology, and the Sanford Underground Research Facility, a major scientific research lab in the region.
In addition to establishing the Exploring Computer Science Course within South Dakota school districts, this Partnership will build strong capacity within K-12 teachers to implement the course well. It will also build linkages among a teacher training institution, a local science facility, K-12 districts, and a regional science and technology university. The project will conduct teacher training activities both on-site and at workshops, and will provide a variety of outreach trainings designed to build excitement among teachers and administrators about the possibilities within computer science. In addition, the project will contribute research findings to the field of computer science education about the teaching and learning of computer science at the high school level. The educational research agenda will explore the degree to which participation in the ECS course influences students' attitudes and beliefs about the nature of computer science, its importance, and its relevance to their lives; and their content knowledge of computer science and related problem-solving skills. Research will also explore how teacher participation in the EPCS Project increases teachers' capacity to provide high-quality instruction. Together, the Partners build on the success of a prior Math and Science Partnership project focused on mathematics education, including adoption of new instructional materials, the introduction and development of a team of instructional coaches, training opportunities for administrators, and family engagement.