1. Katherine Mortimer
  2. Associate Professor of Bilingual/Biliteracy Education
  3. A Research-Practice Partnership for Developing Computational Thinking through Linguistically and Culturally Relevant CS Curriculum in Middle School
  4. https://solyagua.cybershare.utep.edu/
  5. University of Texas at El Paso
  1. Monika Akbar
  2. http://cs.utep.edu/makbar
  3. Assistant Professor of Computer Science
  4. A Research-Practice Partnership for Developing Computational Thinking through Linguistically and Culturally Relevant CS Curriculum in Middle School
  5. https://solyagua.cybershare.utep.edu/
  6. University of Texas at El Paso
  1. Pedro Delgado
  2. STEM/Science Teacher
  3. A Research-Practice Partnership for Developing Computational Thinking through Linguistically and Culturally Relevant CS Curriculum in Middle School
  4. https://solyagua.cybershare.utep.edu/
  5. Young Women's STEAM Research and Preparatory Academy
  1. Sarah Escandon
  2. Active Learning Leader/Instructional Coach
  3. A Research-Practice Partnership for Developing Computational Thinking through Linguistically and Culturally Relevant CS Curriculum in Middle School
  4. https://solyagua.cybershare.utep.edu/
  5. Young Women's STEAM Research and Preparatory Academy
  1. George Molina
  2. Undergraduate Student in Computer Science
  3. A Research-Practice Partnership for Developing Computational Thinking through Linguistically and Culturally Relevant CS Curriculum in Middle School
  4. https://solyagua.cybershare.utep.edu/
  5. University of Texas at El Paso
  1. Cynthia Ontiveros
  2. Principal
  3. A Research-Practice Partnership for Developing Computational Thinking through Linguistically and Culturally Relevant CS Curriculum in Middle School
  4. https://solyagua.cybershare.utep.edu/
  5. Young Women's STEAM Research and Preparatory Academy
  1. Jacob Ramirez
  2. Science Teacher
  3. A Research-Practice Partnership for Developing Computational Thinking through Linguistically and Culturally Relevant CS Curriculum in Middle School
  4. https://solyagua.cybershare.utep.edu/
  5. University of Texas at El Paso, Guillen Middle School
  1. Romelia Rodriguez
  2. Doctoral Student in Teaching, Learning & Culture
  3. A Research-Practice Partnership for Developing Computational Thinking through Linguistically and Culturally Relevant CS Curriculum in Middle School
  4. https://solyagua.cybershare.utep.edu/
  5. University of Texas at El Paso
Public Discussion

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  • Icon for: Katherine Mortimer

    Katherine Mortimer

    Lead Presenter
    Associate Professor of Bilingual/Biliteracy Education
    May 10, 2021 | 09:46 p.m.

    ¡Bienvenidxs, bienvenidas, bienvenidos! Welcome and thank you for taking the time to watch our video. In this first year of our 2-year project we have focused on sharing and building knowledge across the team on the topics of computational thinking, culturally responsive pedagogy, bilingual pedagogy, project-based learning, and the two school communities for whom we are creating pilot curriculum. By summer we will have five project-based learning modules ready for pilot implementation and refinement during the 2021-2022 school year. Each module uses the Sol y Agua video game in different ways as a context for practicing and discussing computational thinking and a way to get kids talking about how we can use computational thinking to identify and solve community challenges. 

    We’re looking forward to conversation with you! In particular,

    • What strategies have you found to use students’ multiple languages to increase engagement in computer science and STEM?
    • How have you connected computational thinking with middle schoolers’ everyday lives? 

    ¡Bienvenidxs, bienvenidas, bienvenidos! Welcome y gracias por tomarse el tiempo de ver nuestro video. En este primer año de nuestro proyecto de 2 años, nos hemos enfocado en compartir y desarrollar el conocimiento del equipo sobre los temas del pensamiento computacional, la pedagogía culturalmente significativa, la pedagogía bilingüe, el aprendizaje basado en proyectos y las dos comunidades escolares para las que estamos creando currículum. Para el verano, tendremos cinco módulos de aprendizaje basados en proyectos listos para la implementación piloto y el refinamiento durante el año escolar 2021-2022. Cada módulo utiliza el videojuego Sol y Agua de diferentes maneras como contexto para practicar y discutir el pensamiento computacional y hacer que los niños hablen sobre cómo podemos usar el pensamiento computacional para identificar y resolver los retos de nuestra comunidad.  

    ¡Esperamos conversar con Uds.! En particular, 

    • ¿Qué estrategias han encontrado para utilizar los múltiples idiomas de los estudiantes para aumentar la participación en la informática y STEM? 
    • ¿Cómo han conectado el pensamiento computacional con la vida cotidiana de los estudiantes de secundaria? 
     
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    Justice Walker
    Rachel Alatalo
    Monika Akbar
    Romelia Rodriguez
  • Icon for: Katherine Mortimer

    Katherine Mortimer

    Lead Presenter
    Associate Professor of Bilingual/Biliteracy Education
    May 11, 2021 | 10:43 p.m.

    Also would like to add our full RPP team here:

    • Monika Akbar, PhD, Assistant Professor, Computer Science, University of Texas at El Paso
    • Pedro Delgado, Science Teacher, Young Women’s Academy
    • Sarah Escandon, Active Learning Leader, Young Women’s Academy
    • Stephanie Galván, Research Assistant, Computer Science, University of Texas at El Paso
    • Scott Gray, Director of New Tech, El Paso Independent School District
    • Haleigh Kneedler, Math and Science Teacher, Young Women’s Academy
    • Monica Lyons, Principal, Guillen Middle School
    • Victor Medrano, Math Teacher, Young Women’s Academy
    • George Molina, Research Assistant, Computer Science, University of Texas at El Paso
    • Grecia Navarrete, Research Assistant, Computer Science, University of Texas at El Paso
    • Cynthia Ontiveros, PhD, Principal, Young Women’s Academy
    • Jacob Ramirez, Science Teacher, Guillen Middle School
    • Romelia Rodriguez, Research Assistant, Teaching, Learning and Culture, University of Texas at El Paso
    • Jesus Vazquez, Math Teacher, Guillen Middle School
     
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    Justice Walker
  • Icon for: Chelsea Carnes

    Chelsea Carnes

    Higher Ed Administrator
    May 11, 2021 | 01:05 p.m.

    Buen trabajo! Great video and program! I love the elements of gamification and culturally responsive pedagogy. I've been usuing Duolingo and other gamified language learning programs like Mango Languages and verbly.io to study Spanish for a few years now and have often thought that computer games are the future of learning. Not long ago, Duolingo branched out to offer a reading literacy game as well. Why not extend gamification to STEM learning too as you've done here? We offer a robotics program that uses innovation and competition to engage diverse students in STEM: https://videohall.com/p/1985  

     
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    Romelia Rodriguez
  • Icon for: Katherine Mortimer

    Katherine Mortimer

    Lead Presenter
    Associate Professor of Bilingual/Biliteracy Education
    May 11, 2021 | 09:56 p.m.

    Thanks for watching, Chelsea! Yes, a key part of the gamification in our project is that the game itself is designed to be culturally responsive, reflecting local geography, flora, and fauna, and the local challenge of water conservation in the desert. Interesting to hear you are drawing on competition as a way to engage -- that's come up as a possibility in our work too!

  • Icon for: Cynthia Ontiveros

    Cynthia Ontiveros

    Co-Presenter
    Principal
    May 11, 2021 | 03:34 p.m.

    Thank you for the feedback! WE love the vision of this project and love our teachers for joining us in this journey! We know the possibilities are endless when we meet our students in their interests and goals!

     
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    Romelia Rodriguez
    Monika Akbar
  • May 11, 2021 | 09:38 p.m.

    Thank you so much for such a great video.  I lived in El Paso for a few years and I found it such a rich tapestry of cultures and perspectives.  I love that you are giving the students so much agency in this project.  I can't wait to watch how your study develops.

     
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    Romelia Rodriguez
    Sarah Escandon
    Monika Akbar
  • Icon for: Sarah Escandon

    Sarah Escandon

    Co-Presenter
    Active Learning Leader/Instructional Coach
    May 12, 2021 | 03:47 p.m.

    Thanks Anita for your comment.  I agree with you, we are giving students the opportunity to increase agency through meaningful experiences.  As an instructional coach, I love the opportunities teachers are also being provided. They are designing PBL modules and increasing their knowledge in CS and CT.  This will help educators feel confident and thus provide rigorous learning opportunities to students.  I can't wait either!  Thanks, again. 

     
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    Anita Crowder
  • Icon for: Katherine Mortimer

    Katherine Mortimer

    Lead Presenter
    Associate Professor of Bilingual/Biliteracy Education
    May 12, 2021 | 09:52 p.m.

    Thank you! Yes, the borderland is a special place and we feel very fortunate! Thank you for picking up on the agency, as well. It's a key component of the PBL work that the teachers are already doing, and we're keen to see how it shows up in these PBL modules in the classrooms next year.

     
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    Anita Crowder
  • Icon for: Karen Mutch-Jones

    Karen Mutch-Jones

    Facilitator
    Senior Researcher
    May 11, 2021 | 10:14 p.m.

    I am such a fan of integrated STEM, and your project has done an excellent job of creating opportunities for exploration and learning of science, CT, math and language! The platform looks  engaging, and I was impressed by a comment of a teacher who stated that its features enable her to address students needs, so that their engagement isn't impeded. If possible, I'd like to hear about an embedded challenge that supports student development of a CT practice(s).  Having an example might help us viewers to appreciate the types of experiences that the modules offer, since there wasn't enough time to show them fully.  I'm also curious about your pilot study.  What type of data might you collect from teachers or students--there is so much to learn!  Thank you.

     
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    Romelia Rodriguez
  • Icon for: Monika Akbar

    Monika Akbar

    Co-Presenter
    Assistant Professor of Computer Science
    May 12, 2021 | 12:13 a.m.

    Thank you for your comment and kind words!
    The game has activities designed to explore different areas of CT. For example,  'abstraction' can be found throughout the game in various activities. As part of the game, students use a drone to navigate local areas, collect water and soil samples, neutralize those samples, and later design a park. Students accumulate points for their design elements (e.g., aesthetic of the park, sustainability of the park based on the plants selected) rather than winning or losing the game. Many of these activities require a step-by-step process (e.g., driving the drone or neutralizing the samples), thus introducing students to problem-solving and algorithms. At the end of the game, we envision an open-ended discussion of the designed park to foster decision-making skills. 

     
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    Romelia Rodriguez
  • Icon for: Katherine Mortimer

    Katherine Mortimer

    Lead Presenter
    Associate Professor of Bilingual/Biliteracy Education
    May 12, 2021 | 10:15 p.m.

    Yes, thank you! On the pilot study during the coming year, we will video record instruction (classroom interaction), collect data from within the game on student learning (e.g., use of CT) and choices (e.g., language choices), collect other student artifacts within the PBL, and record teacher reflections. We will collaboratively (researchers and teachers) analyze pilot implementations and refine plans for subsequent implementations within the team. It'll be a busy and exciting year!

  • Icon for: Karen Mutch-Jones

    Karen Mutch-Jones

    Facilitator
    Senior Researcher
    May 14, 2021 | 02:45 p.m.

    Thank you, Monika and Katherine, for game examples that build CT practices and for sharing your pilot study plans.  I look forward to hearing about results in a future presentation or publication!  I think seeing how the game evolves and then enables teachers to use it fully will be a particularly valuable contribution to the field.  So many good tools out there, but enabling busy teachers to understand how to incorporate them into their courses and to use them well can be challenging.  Thanks for your good work! 

  • Icon for: Eric Pyle

    Eric Pyle

    Facilitator
    Professor
    May 12, 2021 | 10:11 a.m.

    Thank you for a very interesting video.  I especially like the emphasis on "culturally significant" instruction, which would seem to transcend "culturally relevant" by truly valuing different cultures unique contributions to instruction.  I am a definite fan of promoting computational thinking across the curriculum, and while computer science offers a good starting point, I would encourage you to "think bigger" with respect to the concept, especially within the context of the middle school curriculum.

     
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    Katherine Mortimer
    Romelia Rodriguez
  • Icon for: Pedro Delgado

    Pedro Delgado

    Co-Presenter
    STEM/Science Teacher
    May 12, 2021 | 05:08 p.m.

    I absolutely agree with you, Eric.  Computational Thinking is a tool, really.  It is something that can be applied to any subject area, not just computer science.  I currently teach CS, but I also teach 7th grade science, and I see it as a compliment to the scientific method.  In the past, I have also taught social studies and ELA, and I believe that students in these classes can also apply the components of computational thinking to tackle important issues in those areas.

     

     
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    Romelia Rodriguez
  • May 12, 2021 | 10:19 a.m.

    Congrats, I think that the project has many components that allow educators, students, and community members to have a voice. I wonder how are you are able to craft a project from different voices and keep the project student focus? 

     
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    Romelia Rodriguez
    Sarah Escandon
  • Icon for: Pedro Delgado

    Pedro Delgado

    Co-Presenter
    STEM/Science Teacher
    May 12, 2021 | 05:01 p.m.

    You make an excellent point! It is important to always maintain a student focus even as other members of the community are brought into the project.  I think the key is to have students take initiative from the very beginning, and have input on all decision.  This involves creating a community where everyone's voice is heard, but decision are still reached through discussion and careful analysis.  This is a community goal that begins at our classrooms.  As we model this with smaller groups, as the project expands, we can maintain the student focus at every step.

     
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    Holly Fields

    K-12 Administrator
    May 12, 2021 | 12:20 p.m.

    Such a great project that truly embraces so much of what the El Paso community needs. It will be great to see this project replicated across the region and in other communities. Kudos to my colleague and friend Dr. Katherine Mortimer, Dr. Monika Akbar, Stephanie Galvan, and all of the RPP partners in EPISD.

     
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    Katherine Mortimer
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  • Icon for: Pedro Delgado

    Pedro Delgado

    Co-Presenter
    STEM/Science Teacher
    May 12, 2021 | 04:57 p.m.

    Thank you! I agree... this is what our community is all about! And, the project empowers the students by making them active participants in what is happening around them.  It is what our aim as educators has always been; making students aware of the impact they can have in their communities.

     
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  • Icon for: Pedro Delgado

    Pedro Delgado

    Co-Presenter
    STEM/Science Teacher
    May 12, 2021 | 04:56 p.m.

    Thank you everyone for your comments and your feedback! I feel so excited to be part of this collaboration.  I truly believe that our students will benefit immensely from using computational thinking to become better solvers. Looking at actual problems that affect their very own communities adds authenticity to the projects and increases student engagement.  And, as a teacher, of course, it makes teaching so much more fun!

     
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    Katherine Mortimer
  • Icon for: Daniel Serrano

    Daniel Serrano

    Higher Ed Faculty
    May 12, 2021 | 08:27 p.m.

    I love seeing projects that integrate games for learning.

    Did anyone in the team have experience with game design already, or did they learn as part of the process? Or rather, was the game developed in consultation with a game developer?

     
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    Grecia Navarrete
  • Icon for: Ann Gates

    Ann Gates

    Higher Ed Administrator
    May 12, 2021 | 11:36 p.m.

    The project started with a supplement to the NSF CREST CyberShARE Center and was designed and developed by software engineering undergraduate and master's students with interactions from water quality specialists, educators, and others.  The project was initially a collaboration with the Smithsonian Latino Center and inspired by their pilot virtual role-playing adventure game called Mi Tierra-Mi Mundo/My Land-My World through which students learn about and apply real-world ecological concepts related to sustainability and stewardship.  

  • Icon for: Grecia Navarrete

    Grecia Navarrete

    Undergraduate Student
    May 15, 2021 | 09:53 a.m.

    I’m Grecia, one of the developers. Personally, the only experience I had with game development was making really small levels in order to get acquainted with how to use Unity (What we used to make this). I made some sprites and animations, and two levels which attempted to recreate two levels from my favorite platformer. Besides that I did not have any experience, so this has been a pleasure to work on and I’ve learned a lot! We all have learned along the way as we move forward with the project.

  • Icon for: Daniel Serrano

    Daniel Serrano

    Higher Ed Faculty
    May 17, 2021 | 02:13 p.m.

    Thanks for the insight, Ann and Grecia.

    Congrats on the awesome project!

  • Small default profile

    Gabriela Dolsa

    May 12, 2021 | 09:26 p.m.

    Felicidades. What a fantastic project. Can't wait to see the students' projects y el impacto que va a tener en la zona.

  • Icon for: Katherine Mortimer

    Katherine Mortimer

    Lead Presenter
    Associate Professor of Bilingual/Biliteracy Education
    May 12, 2021 | 10:20 p.m.

    ¡Gracias! Yo también y espero ver el impacto que la zona va a tener en los proyectos! Thank you! Yes, we're excited to see the projects too, as well as the impact that the borderland has on the project :)

  • Icon for: Ann Gates

    Ann Gates

    Higher Ed Administrator
    May 12, 2021 | 11:46 p.m.

    Congratulations on the work that you have done to extend Sol y Agua.  I'm impressed with the bilingual pedagogy and can see the future impact from introducing CT, including translanguaging in the game,  and exciting students about computing.  I look forward to learning more!

     
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    Cynthia Ontiveros
  • Icon for: Katherine Mortimer

    Katherine Mortimer

    Lead Presenter
    Associate Professor of Bilingual/Biliteracy Education
    May 14, 2021 | 10:39 a.m.

    Thank you! And thank you for your guidance as well. We're really looking forward to this next stage of the work in classrooms!

  • Icon for: Emma Anderson

    Emma Anderson

    Researcher
    May 13, 2021 | 11:28 a.m.

    This seems like an interesting project. I am a researcher on the Making Sense of Models project and we are also looking at the integration of CS/CT into Science and Math. If you would like to learn more about Making Sense of Models you can watch our video here. One of the aspects we are focusing on is the role of decoding in helping students make connections across content. I am curious how the integration of CT in your project is helping to facilitate student learning of science, can you speak more to this aspect of your work? 

  • Icon for: Annie Wilhelm

    Annie Wilhelm

    Higher Ed Faculty
    May 14, 2021 | 09:53 a.m.

    What an interesting and important project!  I'm wondering if there are parts of what you're creating that you think would work well in an urban school in Dallas, TX?  If there are, are there resources you'd be willing to share as we're opening a STEM-focused school that aims to integrate project-based learning and culturally sustaining pedagogies and we will be working with 7th and 8th grade students next year?  

    Beyond specific resources, I'm also wondering if there are design principles or other big-picture take-aways you can share.  Thank you!

  • Icon for: Monika Akbar

    Monika Akbar

    Co-Presenter
    Assistant Professor of Computer Science
    May 17, 2021 | 01:21 a.m.

    Thank you, Annie! We are working on developing the resources. We plan to share those resources through our project website. Personally, PBL and the protocols used by New Tech Network was extremely helpful in shaping our activities. 

  • Icon for: Cynthia Ontiveros

    Cynthia Ontiveros

    Co-Presenter
    Principal
    May 18, 2021 | 12:22 a.m.

    Yes! Thank you Dr. Gates! We look forward to seeing how these CT projects are integrated in the core curriculum- addressing the areas of translanguaging and young women's interests... all bundled within a PBL :) 

  • May 18, 2021 | 10:26 a.m.

    Great description of the project and engagement of the partner voices.  Will you be able to track over time the impact of this project on students?

  • Icon for: Katherine Mortimer

    Katherine Mortimer

    Lead Presenter
    Associate Professor of Bilingual/Biliteracy Education
    May 18, 2021 | 12:47 p.m.

    Thank you Alan -- yes we hope to track impact over time in future stages of the work, perhaps even on individual students as they move through high school and into college.

  • Icon for: Jaymus Lee

    Jaymus Lee

    Graduate Student
    May 18, 2021 | 03:59 p.m.

    Thank you for the great video and project. The idea of incorporating video games that are bilingual is amazing and something that we will look forward to doing within tribal communities - many Native American tribes have created projects for language revitalization and I think that incorporating computer sciences, analytical thinking / analysis, and environmental testing is the added bonuses and so important for developing tribal communities. Thank you for the great work!

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