Y. Nam, P. Veronesi, O. Yasar

The College at Brockport (UNITED STATES)
In this study, first, we present initial results from an NSF funded Robert Noyce Scholarships program at the College at Brockport to help pre-service science and mathematics teachers to improve their computational thinking skills and pedagogical skills of using computational modeling and simulations for teaching secondary science and mathematics. In doing so, we describe a pedagogical approach of teaching computational modeling, based on a decade-long NSF funded Math and Science Partnership (MSP) program at the College which has resulted in a number of credit-bearing courses for pre-service and in-service teachers (Yaşar, 2013).

Computational Pedagogy; a pedagogical approach to teaching mathematics and science through the use of computational modeling and simulations for introductory level pre-service teachers (Yaşar, 2013). Teaching computational modeling and using this skill for teaching science and mathematics is not an easy task, particularly with the participants having a limited understanding of computer programing and simulation. Based on our previous years of experiences of implementing introductory computational science courses in various professional workshops for in-service and pre-service science and mathematics teachers, we propose presenting results from a successful pedagogical model of teaching mathematics and science through computational modeling and simulation, called Computational Pedagogy.

For the year 2013-2014, nineteen participants (pre-service science and mathematics teachers) participated in the program (July 2013). For this study, we only use participants’ response to open-ended questions and transcriptions of individual interview with six selected participants. An inductive approach (Patton, 2002) was used for analyzing the participants’ responses to the open-ended questions and interviews transcriptions

The result of this study indicate that the participants who attended the program have strongly agreed that computer modeling can be used as an effective instructional method to teach science and mathematics concepts. Particularly, they thought that computational modeling can be beneficial to teach science concepts that are not observable in real-world time and space scales. In addition to that, they thought that computational modeling would be beneficial to understand how mathematics would be used in real-world problem solving and to improve critical thinking and problem solving skills. We strongly believe our pedagogical approach will be effective for teaching computational modeling and also that computational pedagogy can be used as an effective tool to train secondary science and mathematics teachers to understand how to use computational modeling as an instructional method to demonstrate science and mathematics concepts in a real-world situation one step at a time and to visualizing underlying principles of the concepts.