1. Borgna Brunner
  2. Editorial Project Director
  3. Collaborative Research: The Development of Computational Literacy through the Integration of Computational Thinking and Early Language and Literacy Development in Urban Preschools
  4. GBH/ WGBH
  1. Heather Lavigne
  2. https://www.edc.org/staff/heather-lavigne
  3. Research Scientist
  4. Collaborative Research: The Development of Computational Literacy through the Integration of Computational Thinking and Early Language and Literacy Development in Urban Preschools
  5. Education Development Center (EDC)
  1. Jillian Orr
  2. Executive Producer
  3. Collaborative Research: The Development of Computational Literacy through the Integration of Computational Thinking and Early Language and Literacy Development in Urban Preschools
  4. GBH/ WGBH
  1. Ceri Riley
  2. https://www.ceriley.com/
  3. Digital Coordinating Producer
  4. Collaborative Research: The Development of Computational Literacy through the Integration of Computational Thinking and Early Language and Literacy Development in Urban Preschools
  5. GBH/ WGBH
Public Discussion

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  • Icon for: Margo Murphy

    Margo Murphy

    Facilitator
    Science Instructor
    May 10, 2022 | 08:22 a.m.

    What a great project!!!  You clearly explained the early building blocks of computational thinking and making it relevant to the age group.  I have many questions but my first one is what are next steps in this skill development?  I can see this being a powerful start but needs skill and content progression for the ultimate goal to be met.  Are you collaborating with anyone working at early elementary to build on your work?

     
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    Michelle Cerrone
  • Icon for: Jillian Orr

    Jillian Orr

    Co-Presenter
    Executive Producer
    May 10, 2022 | 01:03 p.m.

    Hi Margo!

    Thank you so much for your excitement around this work -- we are so passionate as well! 

    We too see this as a start in an important journey of computational thinking. Our approach begins with supporting the basic skills and using those skills to create computational artifacts. We see this project providing early "pre-coding" experiences that would equip children to engage in other developmentally appropriate coding experiences as they continue to grow. Our colleagues at PBS and public media stations around the country have developed workshops that use ScratchJr for early elementary, and so our work is designed to support children in advancing to this as well! We are eager to continue this work to better build that bridge into early elementary!

     
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    Michelle Cerrone
    Margo Murphy
  • Icon for: Kathy Renfrew

    Kathy Renfrew

    Facilitator
    Education SPecialist
    May 10, 2022 | 09:30 a.m.

    I am very excited about this project both as an elementary educator and a grandmother of two preschool boys. I am a failry new learner when it comes to thinking about the inclusion of comptuational thinking into science instruction. I am very curious about the other books you will be using during the seven week pilot. I am also wondering if there is a developmentally appropriate set of learning goals around computational thinking for children of this age. I really want to know more about your vision for how the program supports teachers. What professional support are you providing for the teacher of the  young child? 

     
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    Michelle Cerrone
  • Icon for: Borgna Brunner

    Borgna Brunner

    Lead Presenter
    Editorial Project Director
    May 10, 2022 | 02:12 p.m.

    Thanks for your interest, Kathy. (Must be great having two preschool grandkids to try activities with!) To answer your questions:

    Books and Songs Used in The Story Emporium

    • Unit 1 (2 weeks): Old MacDonald Song
    • Unit 2 (2 weeks): Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes (also comes in a Spanish edition)
    • Unit 3 (2 weeks): The Gingerbread Man (a bilingual edition) plus two other variations on the story: The Runaway Tortilla and Catch That Pickle!
    • Unit 4 (1 week) is different from the others: teachers have a choice of stories/songs to choose from. Each of the Story Sets we offer features three new stories or songs that share the same pattern. The Story Sets (there are six of them) include variations on Stone Soup, If You’re Happy and You Know It, and The Was an Old Lady, among others. Including the Story Sets allows teachers to tailor the curriculum to the interests of their students and also allows us the opportunity to present a diverse selection of books.

    Age-Appropriate CT Skills

    With teachers’ support, preschool children will begin to understand these core CT skills and how they relate to stories/songs:

    • Decomposition: How a story/song can be broken down into story/song elements
    • Sequencing: How story/song elements follow a certain order
    • Pattern Recognition: How story/song elements repeat in a predictable way
    • Algorithmic Thinking: How to use the story/song pattern (the step-by-step instructions, called the algorithm) to create a new version of the story/song by changing some of the elements
    • Logical Reasoning: How the story/song elements are connected to one another in a way that makes logical sense
    • Debugging: How to notice and correct a mistake in the story/song pattern

    Supports for Teachers

    In addition to the Lesson Plans, The Story Emporium offers teachers a video overview of the program, a five-step model on how the curriculum works, tips on using the app with children, suggestions for fitting these seven weeks into teachers’ existing curricula, a diagram showing how literacy and CT skills dovetail, and teaching strategies for dual-language learners and children with learning and thinking differences.

     
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    Michelle Cerrone
    Margo Murphy
  • Icon for: Kathy Renfrew

    Kathy Renfrew

    Facilitator
    Education SPecialist
    May 10, 2022 | 10:19 p.m.

    Thanks so much for your detailed response. I often worry about the support thr preschool teachers and their opportunirty for professional learning as many preschool children live in communities where the daycare staff are the ones working with our youngest leaners. I also wanted to share a new book I just found called "How to Code a Sandcastle."

     
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    Michelle Cerrone
  • Icon for: Jillian Orr

    Jillian Orr

    Co-Presenter
    Executive Producer
    May 12, 2022 | 01:30 p.m.

    Thank you for sharing the book, Kathy! 

    We have that same concern for early childhood educators. Our hope with this project was that we could leverage what educators are already doing--reading and breaking down stories!--to support early CT skill development. Our amazing early educator partners and fantastic advisors also played a large role in shaping this project so that it would be feasible and embraceable. We're pilot testing now!

     
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    Michelle Cerrone
  • Icon for: Kathy Renfrew

    Kathy Renfrew

    Facilitator
    Education SPecialist
    May 12, 2022 | 11:47 p.m.

    I can’t wait to find out what you find out through the piloting of the program. I have to admit that I am hoping that if students start having these amazing learning experiences as young children, they will be the ones demanding it as they continue through school. I hope they will learn to advocate for themselves.

  • Icon for: Latrenda Knighten

    Latrenda Knighten

    Facilitator
    Mathematics Content Trainer
    May 10, 2022 | 07:02 p.m.

    Thank you for sharing your project and for your work with preschool students, especially those in urban areas. It was very interesting to read about your work with computational literacy and computational thinking - early language development and literacy is a vital component in the education of young children.  I agree that literature, especially engaging books that include patterns is a great tool for engaging students. As part of your pilot, what tools are you using to measure student growth/development in computational literacy and thinking? Beyond the pilot program in preschool classrooms, are there any plans to "follow" and/or monitor student development and growth as they move to a formal elementary setting? I would be interested to find out how this early start with literacy development helps students as they continue to grow and develop.

    Thanks again for sharing and for your work with young children.

     
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    Michelle Cerrone
  • May 12, 2022 | 04:56 p.m.

    Great question! We are conducting virtual pre- and post- child assessments in order to understand if and how using The Story Emporium activities and digital app support student growth in computational literacy. The assessment consists of two parts:

    • Joint Story Retell (JSR) developed by Dempsey and Skarakis-Doyle, and (2) Computational Literacy (CL) Learning Task developed by the EDC research team. The JSR assesses children’s ability to recall key information from a story. After reading a story twice, children complete 10 cloze (fill-in-the-blank) items read by the researcher.
    • The CL Learning Task assesses children’s computational literacy—their ability to recognize and produce story patterns. After reading the first part of a story to the child, the researcher asks the child to retell the story and to continue the story using a set of images related to the story for ideas.

    We don’t yet have plans to follow student development and growth in the longer term, but that could be a valuable direction for this work to take!

     
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    Latrenda Knighten
  • Icon for: Latrenda Knighten

    Latrenda Knighten

    Facilitator
    Mathematics Content Trainer
    May 12, 2022 | 10:20 p.m.

    Thanks so much for your comprehensive response!  I love the assessment tool you're using - it seems very in depth. It sounds as if you guys are going to capture some great data. Good luck with your project and thanks so much for your work with young children.

     
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    Michelle Cerrone
  • May 13, 2022 | 01:16 p.m.

    Thanks, looking forward to sharing our results!

  • Icon for: Margo Murphy

    Margo Murphy

    Facilitator
    Science Instructor
    May 11, 2022 | 08:40 a.m.

    As a follow-up... what is the plan to offer PD to preschool teachers?  There often isn't any time built into their day or schedules to receive PD, although this may be changing as preK gets folded into the public school system.  Is it an asynchronous model? Embedded in their working day?  How have you been providing PD during your pilot phase?  I am interested in knowing your implementation plan.

     
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    Michelle Cerrone
  • May 12, 2022 | 04:24 p.m.

    Thanks so much for raising these important points, Margo! Too often we see that technology and media are distributed in classrooms without the professional supports that teachers need in order to successfully integrate resources in developmentally appropriate ways that support learning and are based in research.

    Although a robust, formal professional development program was outside the scope of this particular project, we worked closely with teachers and expert advisors during formative phases to better understand teacher familiarity, experience, and comfort with (1) key content areas of CT and narrative development, and (2) the pedagogical approaches to using technology to build on and enhance hands-on learning opportunities. Drawing on what we learned from these early phases, WGBH developed multiple types of teacher supports (e.g., introductory videos, a teacher version of the app). EDC then conducted additional rounds of testing and expert reviews that elicited feedback on the value and usability of these educative components, specifically around how well they prepared and supported teachers in implementing the content.

    What we found is that teachers value concise introductory materials that define key aspects of the content and that make explicit how the intervention’s approach and resources support the key content areas. We also found – not surprisingly – that teachers benefit from revisiting explanations of the key content in each lesson plan and also from seeing the rationale for how activities and moments within individual lessons support children in engaging with each content area. As a result, WGBH integrated educative components that do just this into all lesson plans. (Interestingly, the teacher version of the app ended up being less helpful than we had expected—having to switch between a student and teacher versions made for a clunky experience.) As Borgna describes above, the final intervention includes a video overview of the program, a five-step model on how the curriculum works, tips on using the app with children, suggestions for fitting these seven weeks into teachers’ existing curricula, a diagram showing how literacy and CT skills dovetail, and teaching strategies for dual-language learners and children with learning and thinking differences.

     
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    Margo Murphy
  • Icon for: Sylvia Perez

    Sylvia Perez

    Informal Educator
    May 11, 2022 | 11:31 a.m.

    Your project really resonates with me as our science center (New York Hall of Science) has been coaching schools on how to integrate computational thinking across disciplines in elementary schools. Our approach has been for teachers to reflect on what they are already doing in the classroom and discover ways that they already aligned with CT or with some modifications can align better with CT. I see this approach embedded in your project as preschool teachers do focus heavily on early literacy building skills. I love the idea of using an app, however in NYC, preschool children are only allowed 15 minutes of screen time per day. I was wondering if you encountered similar or other challenges with utilizing the app in the classroom and if so how did you address them?

     
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    Michelle Cerrone
  • Icon for: Borgna Brunner

    Borgna Brunner

    Lead Presenter
    Editorial Project Director
    May 11, 2022 | 12:22 p.m.

    Hi Sylvia—

    Thanks for your interest in our project. When we began developing it, our advisors recommended that we limit screen use to 15 minutes per day, which we implemented. Most of the Story Emporium activities are off-screen. Whole group activities include read alouds and creating “Big Story Charts” with story cards. Small group activities include having children make "Mini Story Charts” (using paper) as well as having children recreate the story or song using toys and puppets, or by playing a stepping stone game, which serve to engage children in more physical and tactile ways of retelling the story or song. Using the app is seen as one of the culminating activities, one that gives children a new way to practice what they've learned from the charts and the hands-on activities. Preschoolers are likely to have two 15-minute sessions with the app each week—and the app isn’t introduced at all until the second week of the program.

     

     
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    Michelle Cerrone
  • May 11, 2022 | 01:30 p.m.

    Great project Jillian and team -- so much of storytelling w/ computing has been using stories to make coding more palpable to novices (i.e., "make the medicine" go down).  But this reinforces fundamental literacy practices -- good stuff!

     

     
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    Michelle Cerrone
  • Icon for: Jillian Orr

    Jillian Orr

    Co-Presenter
    Executive Producer
    May 12, 2022 | 01:37 p.m.

    Thanks, Quinn! We are really excited about the potential for this approach to support preschool children with early CT development! There is so much to continue exploring!

  • Icon for: Kelly Powers

    Kelly Powers

    May 13, 2022 | 03:06 p.m.

     Hi Jillian & Team Story Emporium, 

    Are any of these resources available to pilot? I'd love to run of the lesson with teachers that I am currently supporting.

  • Icon for: Borgna Brunner

    Borgna Brunner

    Lead Presenter
    Editorial Project Director
    May 16, 2022 | 01:49 p.m.

    Hi Kelly--

    Thanks for your interest in the resources. We're not ready to distribute them right now, but I've got your email and will let you know when they're available.

  • Icon for: Kathy Renfrew

    Kathy Renfrew

    Facilitator
    Education SPecialist
    May 13, 2022 | 03:13 p.m.

    I would be interested in these lessons as well.I can definitely think of acouple of teachers who might be interested 

     

  • Icon for: Borgna Brunner

    Borgna Brunner

    Lead Presenter
    Editorial Project Director
    May 16, 2022 | 01:50 p.m.

    Hi Kathy-- As I mentioned to Kelly (above), we're not yet ready to distribute the resources, but I will be sure to let you know when they're available.

  • May 15, 2022 | 04:29 a.m.

    Very interesting project! Looking forward to the result of a pilot study investigating students' future success in algorithmic thinking and problem-solving.

  • Icon for: Borgna Brunner

    Borgna Brunner

    Lead Presenter
    Editorial Project Director
    May 17, 2022 | 12:54 p.m.

    Thanks, Zohreh! We look forward to sharing after we've tested.

  • Icon for: Sean Justice

    Sean Justice

    Higher Ed Faculty
    May 15, 2022 | 12:57 p.m.

     Hi team — such an interesting approach, and many threads to follow up with. Echoing Kelly and Kathy above I'd love to look at the WGBH teacher resources. Are they available? The focus of our project is, in fact, to develop a professional learning program for teachers. I totally agree about linking new content in CT with what teachers are already doing, to not put more on their plates, to integrate thinking as wholistic, as a mindset that includes CT, etc, etc. For us as well, connecting to literacy makes so much sense in this regard. I'm wondering however about moving into actual use of computational materials described above, e.g., what is the app mentioned? In our work we're finding preK and K teachers notice deep learning engagements by entangling screen-based and screen-free computational materials such as ScratchJR, various robotic platforms, and traditional materials. Also, teachers notice that young learners express their learning with greater and greater fluency the more they work with multimodal tools, e.g. ScratchJr plus books plus recycled materials, etc. It's fascinating for us to watch this unfold in our partners' classrooms. I'm curious to learn more about what your teacher partners are noticing in their classrooms and how CT might be challenging and changing their teacher identities. Thanks for this work!

     
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    Jillian Orr
  • Icon for: Borgna Brunner

    Borgna Brunner

    Lead Presenter
    Editorial Project Director
    May 17, 2022 | 12:24 p.m.

    Thanks for your interesting reflections, Sean! I wanted to respond to your question about how The Story Emporium app works and its relationship to the off-screen activities.

    The overall goal of The Story Emporium is for children to learn to break down a repetitive story/song into smaller elements, to recognize that it has a predictable pattern, and to use that pattern to (1) retell the story or to (2) create a new version of the story by replacing some of the story elements in the pattern. For example, in the original Gingerbread Man story, the Gingerbread man encounters a pig and runs away to avoid being eaten. To make a new story,  a child may change the story elements so that a chocolate chip cookie (new character) encounters a monster (another new character) and runs away to avoid being eaten. 

    Once children understand the model, they practice it in small groups through both hands-on and digital activities. Transferring knowledge between the hands-on activities and the app helps promote a deeper understanding of the CT skills.

    • Mini Story/Song Charts (paper): Children create one row of the pattern using picture cards. The first time they do the activity, they retell the story. The next time, they practice replacing some of the picture cards to create a new version.
    • The Story Emporium App: This gives children a new way to practice what they've learned from the Mini Story charts and other hands-on activities. They use the same pattern they’ve been working with to create stories in the app--but the app gives them a wider range of story elements to choose from. Then the app plays back their story, complete with narration and sound effects. It also allows children to debug their stories if they want. For example, in Old MacDonald, a child might decide they’ve made an illogical choice (combining a cow with a "cluck, cluck" chicken sound instead of “moo, moo”)—the app let’s them go back and change that. (We also allow children to intentionally make wrong choices, if their aim is to make a funny story (for example, a dog saying "roar, roar!").

  • Icon for: Borgna Brunner

    Borgna Brunner

    Lead Presenter
    Editorial Project Director
    May 17, 2022 | 12:35 p.m.

    I should also mention that the app features six different digital stories with different settings, characters, and narrators: two stories are based on the Old MacDonald song (In the City and On the Farm) for Weeks 1 and 2; two are based on the Pete the Cat story (Messy Stepping and Messy Rolling) for Weeks 3 and 4; and two are based on the Gingerbread Man (Runaway Gingerbread and Runaway Treats) for Weeks 5 and 6. In the final week, children have a choice of any of the six stories.

  • Icon for: Jillian Orr

    Jillian Orr

    Co-Presenter
    Executive Producer
    May 17, 2022 | 01:23 p.m.

    Hi Sean!

    Thanks so much for your comment! I wanted to add also that in all of our research around young children's use of technology, it is clear that technology is just a part of the learning. Hands-on materials and different modes of exploring the same content are essential. We have also seen that when hands-on and tech are very closely connected, there is beautiful transference of knowledge across platforms. Sounds like you're seeing the same things! Exciting! We're excited to share our findings after our pilot testing completes this summer! :) 

  • Icon for: Barbara Hopkins

    Barbara Hopkins

    Science Education Consultant
    May 17, 2022 | 08:38 a.m.

    Thank you!  I would also like to learn and see more!  Our efforts to bolster elementary science are ongoing. We see video as 24/7 access for Pre-School teachers. Check out our Ultra-Awesome Animals production (also on PBS Learning Media). Our field tests occurred with Head Start, an AfterSchool program, and Grade 1 classrooms.

  • Icon for: Borgna Brunner

    Borgna Brunner

    Lead Presenter
    Editorial Project Director
    May 17, 2022 | 12:52 p.m.

    Hi Barbara-- I just checked out Ultra-Awesome Animals, on both your site and on PBS Learning Media: very exciting work!  We'll let you know when we have more to share about The Story Emporium.

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