Diverse group of elementary students look over shoulder of one student working at a laptop

Dooley awarded $1.2 million for computer science curriculum project

College of Education & Human Development Associate Professor Caitlin McMunn Dooley was awarded a three-year, $1.2 million grant from the National Science Foundation to develop a curriculum for integrating computer science into urban elementary school classrooms.

Dooley is working with the International Society for Technology in Education and the Georgia Institute of Technology on the Integrated Computer Science in Elementary Curricula (iCS) project, which is designed to improve elementary students’ capacity for academic learning, creativity and motivation as they learn about computer science.

Third through fifth grade teachers at one metro-Atlanta elementary school will integrate computer science into project-based learning using the same strategies industry leaders use to create websites, apps, games and other digital media. Their experiences and results will be compared to those of a nearby school doing a similar project-based method without integrating computer science.

In addition to creating a curriculum that other teachers can use in schools to integrate computer science into their lessons, Dooley hopes the project can shed light on how historically underrepresented groups can become participants and leaders in an increasingly digital society.

“Our goal is to invite children and their teachers to explore digital literacies, motivate learning and nurture creativity,” Dooley said. “By focusing students’ learning on how to create and adapt new technologies, teachers will be well-suited to innovate and inspire with learning with technology and provide pathways for kids to access well-paying jobs in the future.”