What Is the iCS Project?
The Integrated Computer Science Project, or iCS, is funded by a three-year grant from the U.S. National Science Foundation and led by Dr. Caitlin McMunn Dooley, an associate professor at Georgia State University. The project provides teachers in the third, fourth and fifth grades at Centennial Academy with the time, resources and guidance to work together to create project-based curriculum that will align with state academic standards while giving students opportunities for creativity, interest-driven innovation and teamwork.
This collaborative project between Georgia State University, the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE), and Georgia Institute of Technology will develop and test a model curriculum that aligns academic learning with ISTE’s standards and computational thinking goals. The project will improve elementary students’ capacity for computer science, academic knowledge and non-cognitive skills (creativity and motivation) as they learn about computer science via a student-centered, standards- and project-based approach to curriculum development.
The strategy is to create curricular units that integrate academic areas and result in digital projects such as video-game making, website development, app making, and digital storytelling. For this project, teachers are collaborating regularly over three years with computer science mentors and science educators to create curricular guides, which will be based on their own efforts and experiences implementing the activities in their classrooms.
The activities will teach students computational thinking while increasing their motivation and interest in computer science-related fields as well as improving academic learning. Each semester, the program will culminate with an annual Exhibit Night at which students explain their projects to parents and guests.