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MOBILIZE: Mobilizing for Innovative Computer Science Teaching and Learning


MOBILIZE: Mobilizing for Innovative Computer Science Teaching and Learning is a Targeted Math and Science Partnership between the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) as the lead and the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) as the Core Partner school district. The Computer Science Teachers Association (CSTA) and the Association for Computing Machinery, Inc. are Supporting Partners. The Partnership promotes computational thinking, with an overarching goal of fostering inventiveness and innovation among students and teachers through increasing the computer science instructional capacity of high schools, especially in a large urban school district. This project brings together the Center for Embedded Networked Sensing (CENS), an NSF Science and Technology Center (STC) in the Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, and Center X in the Graduate School of Education & Information Studies at UCLA. MOBILIZE deploys challenging and engaging hands-on computer science projects and curricula using new participatory sensing technologies in high school mathematics and science courses. MOBILIZE prepares a large number of high school teachers to use inquiry teaching methods with the intent that technologies that are ubiquitous with students today, such as mobile phones, peak the interests of students and motivate them in ways that ultimately increases both students' achievement and their identities as "doers" of science, while enhancing the computer science knowledge and pedagogical acumen of teachers.

--creates exciting, challenging, multi-disciplinary, real-life based, cutting-edge, hands-on inquiry projects, tools, and materials for teaching computer science concepts in high school computer science AND in standards-based mathematics and science classes. Piloting occurs locally with dissemination nationally, with the long term goal of increasing student engagement and achievement in computer science, mathematics, and the other sciences. High school teachers work with STEM and education faculty to develop new computer science materials that build on the CENS Participatory Sensing systems, which involve students in observing and analyzing environmental and social processes where they live, work, and play;

--develops an innovative model of professional development for current and future high school teachers around the implementation of these projects, to include multi-disciplinary teams of teachers organized into learning communities with STEM and Education faculty, coaching, and a new pre-service computer science methods course, in order to create a cadre of teachers with expertise in both computer science content and pedagogy; and

--informs state and national policy changes (including changing the academic status of computer science from vocational to academic and establishing a computer science teaching credential) necessary to improve the quality of high school computer science instruction. The research hypotheses explored focus on: students as computer scientists, whether in mathematics, science or computer science courses; teachers as computer scientists, whether teaching mathematics, science or computer science; and impact on pre-service teachers in terms of their likelihood to utilize inquiry-based instructional strategies during their early years of teaching.