Title

Stakeholder-Identified Barriers to Computer Science Education in Rural Schools

Location

Harborside Center

Strand #1

Academic Achievement & School Leadership

Relevance

Rural high school students have a higher graduation rate than their urban peers, but continue to maintain a lower college enrollment rate (Johnson, Showalter, Klein, & Lester, 2014). Addressing barriers that are identified through this qualitative study could facilitate closing these achievement gaps for rural students. Access to equitable computer science education is vital to promoting computational thinking skills and increasing access to diverse educational and career opportunities.

Brief Program Description

This presentation will inform educators, policy makers, and researchers on barriers to rural science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and computer science (STEM+C) education so that these barriers can be addressed. This study utilizes qualitative interviews to gain insight to the perspectives of what teachers, principals, curriculum directors, and parent representatives feel are barriers to STEM+C education in their rural settings.

Summary

This presentation will report preliminary results from an in-progress study that is investigating barriers to providing equitable computer science education to rural students. Findings will be presented from interviews used to assess what school personnel and education stakeholders perceive as impactful factors to providing computer science related educational and career opportunities to students in rural schools. The goal of presenting this information is to inform educators and policy makers on barriers to rural STEM+C education so that these barriers can be appropriately addressed and access to STEM+C education can be improved for rural students. By providing these findings to conference attendees, an additional level of insight will help to better inform decision that concern improving these services. Examples of how conference attendees will be able to create change and improve opportunities through applying the information in this presentation are: by including it in their research, taking action in the schools they serve, or using these findings to inform the development of curriculum, in-service trainings, and/or policies. Current literature suggests that teachers will report that a lack of resources and systems support is a barrier to providing computer science education (Stelmach, 2011). Principals and curriculum directors in related studies have reported facing barriers like a lack of recruitment tools to hire teachers with computer science backgrounds, conflicts with the demands of Common Core State Standards, and a lack of economic ability due to disproportional fund appropriation (Harmon & Smith, 2012). It is anticipated that school parent representatives will report a disconnect between local cultural values and what they understand of computer science, as well as a lack of in-home support for students to complete assignments due to less internet access and lack of parental ability to assist (Stelmach, 2011).

Evidence

Upon review of the literature, researchers could not find another study of this kind. However, other studies have examined different facets of this study. Findings of similar studies like those of Stelmach (2011) and Harmon and Smith (2012) informed the projected findings for each participant group. Information of this nature can also be found in important resources, like Why Rural Matters from the Rural School and Community Trust Program.

References:

Harmon, H. L. & Smith, K. C. (2012). Legacy of the rural systemic initiatives: Innovation, leadership, teacher development, and lessons learned. Retrieved from http://eric.ed.gov/?id=ED531890

Stelmach, B. L., (2011). A synthesis of international rural education issues and responses. Rural Educator, 32(2). 32-42.

Johnson, J., Showalter, D., Klein, R., & Lester, C. (2014). Why rural matters 2013-14: The condition of rural education in the 50 states. Retrieved from http://www.ruraledu.org/articles.php?id=3181

Format

Poster Presentation

Biographical Sketch

Charles B. Hodges is an Associate Professor of Instructional Technology at Georgia Southern University. He earned degrees in Mathematics (B.S. and M.S.) before earning a Ph.D. from Virginia Tech’s Learning Sciences and Technologies program. Prior to his employment at Georgia Southern, he was a faculty member at Virginia Tech for 15 years.

Keyword Descriptors

Rural, STEM+C, Computer Science, STEM, Computer Programming

Presentation Year

2016

Start Date

3-8-2016 4:00 PM

End Date

3-8-2016 5:30 PM

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Mar 8th, 4:00 PM Mar 8th, 5:30 PM

Stakeholder-Identified Barriers to Computer Science Education in Rural Schools

Harborside Center

This presentation will inform educators, policy makers, and researchers on barriers to rural science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and computer science (STEM+C) education so that these barriers can be addressed. This study utilizes qualitative interviews to gain insight to the perspectives of what teachers, principals, curriculum directors, and parent representatives feel are barriers to STEM+C education in their rural settings.