Advertisement

Using Computer Simulations and Culturally Responsive Instruction to Broaden Urban Students’ Participation in STEM

  • Jacqueline LeonardEmail author
  • Joy Barnes-Johnson
  • Brian R. Evans
Article
  • 10 Downloads

Abstract

This article describes the findings of a pilot study that used computer simulations to broaden urban children’s opportunities to learn and participate in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). Culturally responsive instructional practices were used to engage urban children in mathematical reasoning and science process skills to create computer simulations. In this study, African-American and Latinx students’ self-efficacy in technology and twenty-first-century skills, as well as attitudes toward STEM and STEM careers, were examined using the context of critical race theory. Due to the small sample size, a non-parametric test was performed. The results revealed significant differences from pre-test to post-test on the constructs of twenty-first-century skills, science attitude and engineering careers. The effect sizes were moderate. Qualitative data revealed the instructor engaged in four out of six elements associated with culturally responsive instruction. Future studies should examine how instructors’ use of sociopolitical consciousness and funds of knowledge influences underrepresented students’ interest in and motivation to learn about STEM.

Keywords

Computer simulations Constructionism Culturally responsive instruction Technology Urban students 

Notes

Acknowledgments

We acknowledge Shorter AME Community Church, Gracia Y Vida Church, and Campbell Chapel AME Church for recruiting students to participate in this study. We also acknowledge the University of Wyoming for funding the program. Any opinions, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of officials at the University of Wyoming.

References

  1. Aguirre, J., & del Rosario Zavala, M. (2013). Making culturally responsive mathematics teaching explicit: a lesson analysis tool. Pedagogies: An International Journal, 8(2), 163–190.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Banks, J., Cochran–Smith, M., Moll, L., Richert, A., Zeichner, K., LePage, P., Darling-Hammond, L., Duffy, H., & McDonald, M. (2007). Teaching diverse learners. In L. Darling-Hammond & J. Bransford (Eds.), Preparing teachers for a changing world: What teachers should learn and be able to do (pp. 232–274). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.Google Scholar
  3. Bell, D. (1980). Brown v. Board of Education and the interest convergence dilemma. Harvard Law Review, 93(3), 518–533.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bouck, E., & Flanagan, S. (2010). Virtual manipulatives: what they are and how teachers can use them. Intervention in School and Clinic, 45(3), 186–191.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bremner, A. (2013). Singing and gaming to math literacy. Teaching Children Mathematics, 19(9), 582–584.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Chang, K., Wu, L., Weng, S., & Sung, Y. (2012). Embedding game-based problem-solving phase into problem-posing system for mathematics learning. Computers & Education, 58(2), 775–786.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Civil, M. (2016). STEM learning research through a funds of knowledge lens. Cultural Studies of Science Education, 11(1), 41–49.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Coleman, S., Bruce, A., White, L., Boykin, A., & Tyler, K. (2016). Communal and individual learning contexts as they relate to mathematics achievement under simulated classroom conditions. Journal of Black Psychology, 43(6), 543–564.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Creswell, J. (1998). Qualitative inquiry and research design: Choosing among five traditions. Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications.Google Scholar
  10. Croft, C. (2017). Teaching computational thinking patterns in rural communities. In P. Rich & C. Hodges (Eds.), Computational thinking: Research and practice (pp. 189–204). Bloomington: AECT/Springer.Google Scholar
  11. Darder, A., & Torres, R. (2004). After race: Racism after multiculturalism. New York: New York University Press.Google Scholar
  12. Delgado, R. (1989). Storytelling for oppositionists and others: a plea for narrative. Michigan Law Review, 87(8), 2411–2441.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Delgado, R., & Stefancic, J. (2012). Critical race theory: An introduction. New York: New York University Press.Google Scholar
  14. diSessa, A., & Cobb, P. (2004). Ontological innovation and the role of theory in design experiments. Journal of the Learning Sciences, 17(4), 465–516.Google Scholar
  15. Dixson, A., & Rousseau, C. (2005). And we are still not saved: critical race theory in education ten years later. Race Ethnicity and Education, 8(1), 7–27.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Feige, K., & Coogler, R. (2018). Black panther. United States of America: Marvel Studios.Google Scholar
  17. FIEI. (2012). Upper elementary school student attitudes toward STEM survey. Raleigh: Friday Institute for Educational Innovation.Google Scholar
  18. Gay, G. (2009). Preparing culturally responsive mathematics teachers. In B. Greer, S. Mukhopadhyay, A. Powell, & S. Nelson-Barber (Eds.), Culturally responsive mathematics education (pp. 189–205). New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  19. Gay, G. (2010). Culturally responsive teaching: Theory, practice and research (2nd ed.). New York: Teachers College Press.Google Scholar
  20. Gutstein, E., & Peterson, B. (2006). Rethinking mathematics: Teaching social justice by the numbers. Milwaukee: Rethinking Schools.Google Scholar
  21. Han, K., & Leonard, J. (2017). Why diversity matters in rural America: women faculty of color challenging whiteness. The Urban Review, 49(1), 112–139.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Harris, C. (1993). Whiteness as property. Harvard Law Review, 106(8), 1707–1791.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Hsu, P., van Dyke, M., Chen, Y., & Smith, T. (2016). A cross-cultural study of the effect of a graph-oriented, computer-assisted, project-based learning environment on middle school students’ science knowledge and argumentation skills. Journal of Computer-Assisted Learning, 32(1), 51–76.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Hurtado, S., Newman, C., Tran, M., & Chang, M. (2010). Improving the rate of success for underrepresented racial minorities in STEM fields: insights from a national project. New Directions for Institutional Research, 2010(148), 5–15.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Irvine, J. (2002). African American teachers’ culturally specific pedagogy. In J. Irvine (Ed.), In search of wholeness: African American teachers and their specific classroom practices (pp. 139–146). New York: Palgrave.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Johnson, L., Adams Becker, S., Estrada, V., & Freeman, A. (2014). NMC horizon report: 2014 K–12 edition. Austin: The New Media Consortium (https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED559369.pdf).Google Scholar
  27. Ke, F. (2008). A case study computer gaming for math: engaged learning from gameplay. Computers & Education, 51(4), 1609–1620.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Ketelhut, D. (2010). Assessing gaming, computer and scientific inquiry self-efficacy in a virtual environment. In L. Annetta & S. Bronack (Eds.), Serious educational game assessment: Practical methods and models for educational games, simulations and virtual worlds (pp. 1–18). Amsterdam: Sense Publishers.Google Scholar
  29. Kitchen, R., & Beck, S. (2016). Educational technology: an equity challenge to the common Core. Journal for Research in Mathematics Education, 47(1), 3–16.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Ladson-Billings, G. (1995). Toward a theory of culturally relevant pedagogy. American Educational Research Journal, 32(3), 465–491.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Ladson-Billings, G. (1998). Just what is critical race theory and what’s it doing in a nice field like education? International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education, 11(1), 7–24.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Ladson-Billings, G. (2009). The dreamkeepers: successful teachers of African American children (2nd ed.). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.Google Scholar
  33. Ladson-Billings, G., & Tate, W. (1995). Toward a critical race theory of education. Teachers College Record, 97(1), 47–68.Google Scholar
  34. Leonard, J. (2019). Culturally specific pedagogy in the mathematics classroom: Strategies for teachers and students (2nd ed.). New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  35. Leonard, J., Davis, J., & Sidler, J. (2005). Cultural relevance and computer-assisted instruction. Journal of Research on Technology in Education, 37(3), 262–280.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Leonard, J., Buss, A., Gamboa, R., Mitchell, M., Fashola, O., Hubert, T., & Almughyirah, S. (2016). Using robotics and game design to enhance children’s STEM attitudes and computational thinking skills. Journal of Science Education and Technology, 28(6), 860–876.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Leonard, J., Mitchell, M., Barnes-Johnson, J., Unertl, A., Outka-Hill, J., Robinson, R., & Hester-Croff, C. (2018). Preparing teachers to engage rural students in computational thinking through robotics, game design, and culturally responsive teaching. Journal of Teacher Education, 69(4), 386–407.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Li, Q. (2010). Digital game building: learning in a participatory culture. Educational Research, 52(4), 427–443.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Matsuda, M., Lawrence, C., Delgado, R., & Crenshaw, K. (1993). Words that wound: Critical race theory, assaultive speech and the first amendment. Boulder: Westview Press.Google Scholar
  40. Mattis, M. (2007). Upstream and downstream in the engineering pipeline: What’s blocking US women from pursuing engineering careers? In R. Burke & M. Mattis (Eds.), Women and minorities in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics: Upping the numbers (pp. 334–362). Cheltenham: Edward Elgar Publishing.Google Scholar
  41. Melfi, T., Williams, P., Gigliott, D., Chernin, P. & Topping, J. (2016). Hidden figures. United States of America: Twentieth-Century Fox.Google Scholar
  42. NEA. (2012). Preparing 21st-century students for a global society: an educator’s guide to the “four Cs”. Alexandria: National Education Association (http://www.nea.org/assets/docs/A-Guide-to-Four-Cs.pdf).Google Scholar
  43. NSF. (2010). Preparing the next generation of STEM innovators: Identifying and developing our nation’s human capital. Washington, DC: National Science Foundation (http://www.nsf.gov/nsb/publications/2010/nsb1033.pdf).Google Scholar
  44. Nugent, G., Barker, B., Grandgenett, N., & Adamchuk, V. (2010). Impact of robotics and geospatial technology interventions on youth STEM learning and attitudes. Journal of Research on Technology in Education, 42(4), 391–408.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. P21L. (2015). P21 framework definitions. Partnership for 21st-century Learning. (http://www.p21.org/storage/documents/docs/P21_Framework_Definitions_New_Logo_2015.pdf).
  46. Papert, S. (1993). Mindstorms: Children, computers, and powerful ideas (2nd ed.). New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
  47. Papert, S., & Harel, I. (1991). Situating constructionism. In I. Harel & S. Papert (Eds.), Constructionism: Research reports and essays, 1985–1990 (pp. 1–14). Norwood: Ablex Publishing.Google Scholar
  48. Piaget, J., & Inhelder, B. (1972). The psychology of the child. New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
  49. Powell, R., Cantrell, S., Malo-Juvera, V., & Correll, P. (2016). Operationalizing culturally responsive instruction: preliminary findings of CRIOP research. Teachers College Record, 118(1), 1–46.Google Scholar
  50. Quinn, G., & Keough, M. (2002). Experimental design and data analysis for biologists. New York: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Repenning, A. (2012). Education programming goes back to school: broadening participation by integrating game design into middle school curricula. Communications of the ACM, 55(5), 38–40.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Repenning, A., Webb, D., & Ioannidou, A. (2010). Scalable game design and the development of a checklist for getting computational thinking into public schools. Proceedings of the 41st ACM technical symposium on computer science education (pp. 265–269). Milwaukee: ACM.Google Scholar
  53. Roschelle, J., Kaput, J., & Stroup, W. (2000). SimCalc: Accelerating students’ engagement with the mathematics of change. In M. Jacobson & R. Kozma (Eds.), Innovations in science and mathematics education: Advanced designs for technologies of learning (pp. 47–75). Mahwah: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.Google Scholar
  54. Roswell, J., Lemieux, A., Swartz, L., Turcotte, M., & Burkitt, J. (2018). The stuff that heroes are made of: elastic, sticky, messy literacies in children’s transmedial cultures. Language Arts, 96(1), 7–20.Google Scholar
  55. Sheridan, K., Clark, K., & Williams, A. (2013). Designing games, designing roles: a study of youth agency in an urban informal education program. Urban Education, 48(5), 734–758.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Solórzano, D., & Yosso, T. (2002). Critical race methodology: counter-storytelling as an analytical framework for education research. Qualitative Inquiry, 8(1), 23–44.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Thomas, J., Rankin, Y., Minor, R., & Sun, L. (2017). Exploring the difficulties African-American middle school girls face enacting computational algorithmic thinking over three years while designing games for social change. Computer Supported Cooperative Work: The Journal of Collaborative Computing and Work Practices, 26(4–6), 389–421.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Whitaker, J., Hand, C., & DuVernay, A. (2018). A wrinkle in time. United States of America: Walt Disney Pictures.Google Scholar
  59. Wilson, Z., Holmes, L., deGravelles, K., Sylvain, M., Batiste, L., Johnson, M., McGuire, S., Pang, S., & Warner, I. (2012). Hierarchical mentoring: a transformative strategy for improving diversity and retention in undergraduate STEM disciplines. Journal of Science Education and Technology, 21(1), 148–156.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jacqueline Leonard
    • 1
    Email author
  • Joy Barnes-Johnson
    • 2
  • Brian R. Evans
    • 3
  1. 1.School of Teacher EducationUniversity of WyomingLaramieUSA
  2. 2.Princeton High SchoolPrincetonUSA
  3. 3.School of EducationPace UniversityNew YorkUSA

Personalised recommendations