Integrating Computing into Urban Elementary Mathematics Classrooms as a Means to Bring Computational Thinking to All
David Weintrop

About the research


NAEd/Spencer Postdoctoral Research Development Award

Award Year



University of Maryland, College Park

Primary Discipline

Smartphones, tablets, and laptops are becoming the lenses through which we see, interpret, and interact with the world. As such, for young learners growing up in this technological landscape, being able to recognize the capabilities and limitations of these technologies, think critically about the roles they play in society, and most crucially, to be able to meaningfully participate in this technological culture is essential. However, the community that has led, and continues to define, this technological revolution has suffered from a lack of gender, racial, and socio-economic diversity, resulting in a computational landscape where the voices, ideas, and experiences of people from these underrepresented groups are muted or altogether absent. The strategy I pursue in this proposal for addressing this issue is to integrate foundational ideas of computing into existing elementary mathematics classrooms. Building on a research-practitioner partnership with the District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS), this project explores the mutually supportive nature of computational thinking and mathematics using robotics as a means to mediate the learning experience. Further, in partnering with an urban school district, this work will help shed light on challenges associated with introducing new, computationally-enhanced curricula within existing school infrastructure. In doing so, this project seeks to empirically test one approach for addressing issues of access, equity, and opportunity that surround the goal of bringing computational thinking to all.
About David Weintrop
David Weintrop is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Teaching & Learning, Policy & Leadership in the College of Education with a joint appointment in the College of Information Studies at the University of Maryland. His research focuses on the design, implementation, and evaluation of accessible, engaging, and equitable computational learning experiences. He is also interested in the use of technological tools in supporting exploration and expression across diverse contexts including STEM classrooms and informal spaces. His work lies at the intersection of design, computational thinking education, and the learning sciences. David has a Ph.D. in the Learning Sciences from Northwestern University and a B.S. in Computer Science from the University of Michigan. He spent one year as a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Chicago studying computer science learning in elementary classrooms prior to joining the faculty at the University of Maryland. Before starting his academic career, he spent five years working as a software developer at a pair of start-ups in Chicago.

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