Computer Science Exploration Project: A Promising Practice in Introducing Computer Science

DO-IT Factsheet #526
http://www.washington.edu/doit/Stem/articles?526

To expose high school students with disabilities to computer sciences and related careers, the North Central Florida High School High Tech program undertook the Computer Science Exploration Project [1]. The Project offered a series of nine hands-on events. An event was held once a month and included visits to:

Evaluation results of the Computer Science Exploration Project suggest that the forty-one participants developed a greater interest in and understanding of computer science and likelihood of pursuing a career in computer science. On a Likert scale of 1 (lowest) to 5 (highest) post-event surveys 80% of the participants reported that they enjoyed the program activities and 31% reported considering a career in the computer science field. A comparison of the pre- and post-surveys revealed a 20% increase in students’awareness, interest, and appreciation of computer science and associated career fields. The students who attended the majority of the events expressed a greater understanding of computer science. A few students reported a change in their intended career path as a result of their participation; one student who was planning a career as a professional football player changed his mind to pursue aviation after the NAS JAX trip while another student switched from the medical field to computer technology after the robotics and New Horizons events.

The Computer Science Exploration Project is a promising practice for helping students with disabilities gain a better understanding and appreciation of computer science and related career fields.

For more information about this project visit the North Central Florida High School High Tech Computer Science Exploration Project [2].

This activity was been funded by a minigrant from The Computer Science Collaboration Project [3] (CSCP). CSCP is partially funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF), Division of Computer and Network Systems, Broadening Participation in Computing (CNS-0940646).

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