Icon for: Robert Reardon

ROBERT REARDON

East Carolina University
Public Discussion
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    Robert Reardon

    Lead Presenter
    Associate Professor
    May 4, 2020 | 05:17 p.m.

    When life gives you a hurricane, enable your Grade 8 student grant participants to process their associated trauma as computational thinkers!

    I hope you enjoy the highlights of the artist-in-residency endeavor that culminated in the gathering of the Grade 8 music and visual arts students from three rural, eastern North Carolina school districts at East Carolina University in November 2019.

    Welcome to the Big Reveal!

     

     
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    Kristin Flaming
  • Icon for: Lisa Dierker

    Lisa Dierker

    Higher Ed Faculty
    May 5, 2020 | 11:04 a.m.

    Wonderful project! Bringing art and digital skills to students where they are at, rather than asking them to go to spaces that have been traditionally unwelcoming can transform lives. Keep up the great work!

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    Robert Reardon

    Lead Presenter
    Associate Professor
    May 5, 2020 | 04:26 p.m.

    Many thanks, Lisa. It's been a wild ride, but we are nothing if not flexible! Then, along came COVID-19!

  • Icon for: Margo Murphy

    Margo Murphy

    Facilitator
    May 6, 2020 | 11:21 a.m.

    Some great examples of students processing life changing events.  I am really interested in hearing more about the computational thinking elements.  Can you give some examples of how this was demonstrated?  and what is next?  Is there any transfer to our current COVID-19 reality?

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    Robert Reardon

    Lead Presenter
    Associate Professor
    May 7, 2020 | 11:21 a.m.

    Thanks for your comment, Margo.

    I had to smile when I read your conjecture about COVID-19! One of our art teachers is already heading down that path, but there is some reluctance about focusing on "another" source of disruption to the "normal."

    The definition of computational thinking that we adopted is the one developed by the Barefoot Computing endeavor in Great Britain (see https://www.barefootcomputing.org/resources/tec...). Barefoot proposed considering computational thinking of comprising concepts (logic, algorithms, decomposition, evaluation, patterns, & abstraction) and processes (tinkering, debugging, collaborating, creating, & persevering).

    The products that Nathalie Miebach devised built on the students' concepts of the logic, algorithms, and patterns of visual arts and music and prompted major debugging, collaborating, creating, and persevering. I can speak from first-hand experience here. In the class in which Nathalie is seen describing how to weave model houses, I "generously offered" to help one of the students who was clearly struggling. My "skills" were sadly lacking and I was greatly relieved when Nathalie eventually relieved me and, in masterly fashion, encouraged the student to solve his own problem!

    In addition, Nathalie was insistent that the students integrate data into their work to show how the impact of Hurricane Florence impinged on their experience. This is most clearly evident in the boat clip where the data on the height of the water and strength of the wind are integrated into the artifact.

    The ease with which the ECU musicians were able to interpret the graphical scores that the music students produced evidenced the fluency of the students in the language of music (and also the skill of the musicians!) The music, in turn, fueled the response of the dancers as they visually and viscerally interpreted both the context of the hurricane and the music.

     

     
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    Sonia Ellis
  • Icon for: Lynda McGilvary

    Lynda McGilvary

    Facilitator
    May 6, 2020 | 10:52 p.m.

    Thanks for sharing this meaningful program! What are your future plans? Will you be publishing on your research findings?

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    Robert Reardon

    Lead Presenter
    Associate Professor
    May 7, 2020 | 11:20 a.m.

    Thanks for asking, Lynda.

    I published a chapter in the volume I recently edited:

    Reardon, R. M., & Webb, C. D. (2019). A curricular activity system for integrating computational thinking into music and visual arts in three rural middle schools. In R. M. Reardon & J. Leonard (Eds.), Integrating Digital Technology in Education: School-University-Community Collaboration (pp.3-30). Information Age Press.

    We have three papers on the drawing-board and were in the middle of them when "you know what" came along! We'll get back to them when the dust settles a little.

  • Icon for: Danielle Boulden

    Danielle Boulden

    Researcher
    May 7, 2020 | 09:54 a.m.

    This is such a fascinating project on so many facets! First, thank you for bringing computational thinking to the students of eastern North Carolina. As a former teacher in rural eastern NC, I am familiar with the need to bring computationally-rich learning experiences to students in these areas. Second, I commend your efforts to refocus your research strategies in the midst of unfortunate circumstances and turn those into positive learning experiences for students. You are an inspiration for us all amidst these new challenging times, as others have mentioned in the discussion thread. Finally, I have enjoyed learning about the connections between computational thinking and the arts (in particular music), as most of my work has been integrating computational thinking within STEM disciplines. My new project has us collaborating with teachers across disciplines, so this was helpful to see those types of connections. Your video clearly addresses the student impacts of your project, but given my own research interests, I was wondering to what degree your project involves teachers, and if you could speak to that a bit.

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    Robert Reardon

    Lead Presenter
    Associate Professor
    May 7, 2020 | 11:54 a.m.

    Great to hear from a former "high-tider," Danielle (although you didn't exactly confess to that :-))!

    We were thrilled at how readily and wholeheartedly the students engaged with Nathalie Miebach's activities. The whole venture was a major success. The most anxious moment I had throughout the whole month was when the pizza delivery at the end of the Big Reveal was late! Lots of famished Grade 8 students gazing longingly at the "honey pot"!

    The three teachers are amazing educators. When we were writing the grant submission, I was thrilled to learn that the music teacher had actually earned her PhD in Music Education from UNCG! All three teachers have great rapport with the students --and what great students. I hope a little of that comes through in the video. (I'm working on an extended "Ken Burns" version over summer.)

    Anyway, back to the teachers! One of the visual arts teachers met Nathalie at the National Art Education Association in Boston and was so impressed by the close alignment of her work and what we had just experienced! We talked about the possibility of the artist-in-residence idea among ourselves (we meet formally every month and informally in between) and were thrilled with Nathalie agreed to accept our offer. I conducted "a heap" of virtual meetings among the four of us and Nathalie, and she met virtually with each teacher and their respective classes before the week she was with us. You would also have intuited the involvement of two exceptionally talented colleagues of mine (dance and music faculty members) and a third colleague who contributed immensely was a faculty member in visual arts. Our grant administrator was an amazing help and two colleagues from computer science were constant supporters of the whole endeavor.

    I could go on and on. If I haven't touched on some aspect in which you are interested, please ask again.

  • Icon for: Danielle Boulden

    Danielle Boulden

    Researcher
    May 7, 2020 | 01:00 p.m.

    Thank you for sharing about your involvement with teachers. It is great to hear that you are working with a group of dedicated teacher collaborators. They are often not only the "glue" that holds these research projects together but also the key to sustaining them beyond the funding. And as for a "high-tider," I actually moved down here in 2000 from the northeast right after the plight of Hurricane Floyd to begin teaching in Greenville. (So I guess I consider myself an adapted "high-tider" after all of these years.)  Your work centered around Hurricane Florence piqued my interest because many of the students that I had begun teaching after my move were still experiencing trauma and displacement from that catastrophic event. 

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    Robert Reardon

    Lead Presenter
    Associate Professor
    May 7, 2020 | 03:55 p.m.

    You are so right about the impact on the students! The Duplin County students were out of school for 5 weeks! They looked just fine and put on a brave front, but, in many cases they were traumatized by multiple relocations and stark circumstances. I was struck by the apparently calm way that one student described the despair in the family when, for some hours, they thought that a close relative had drowned.

    Additionally, of course, it wasn't just the students and their families who were impacted, but also the teachers. Two of our teachers lost their homes and went through multiple relocations. Then, one of those teachers feel victim to a scam and had to initiate a legal action. The third teacher "only" lost half the roof of her house, so she was able to "stay put."

  • Icon for: Megan McKinley-Hicks

    Megan McKinley-Hicks

    Graduate Student
    May 7, 2020 | 01:32 p.m.

    This is a very exciting project! I'm wondering if/how students are making connections among computational thinking, visual arts, music, and/or themselves? I'd enjoy hearing about any preliminary findings you might have.

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    Robert Reardon

    Lead Presenter
    Associate Professor
    May 7, 2020 | 04:21 p.m.

    Thanks, Megan. We are in the process of gathering our thoughts on the outcomes.

    To put that subdued statement in context, please consider the following:
    fall 2017: grant launched December 8
    spring 2018: focus on working with teachers to develop activities and trial them for feasibility
    fall 2018: Hurricane Florence
    spring 2019: grant activities largely suspended while students/teachers/districts focus on recovery
    fall 2020: grant activities resume--adapted to cater for the reality of the lasting impact of Hurricane Florence: The Big Reveal.
    spring 2020: "at last," we thought, the students can sink their teeth into the culminating activity (augmented reality)--and then COVID-19!

    Our data consist of three components: focus groups with students, student self-assessments of computational thinking skills, and students' Q sorts. All of these data are "in the works," so "stay tuned."

     
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    Megan McKinley-Hicks
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    K. Renae Pullen

    Facilitator
    May 7, 2020 | 10:57 p.m.

    Such an amazing project. I deeply appreciate the interweaving science and the arts to allow students to process their trauma. I wish my students could have had similar experiences after Katrina. As I watched, I couldn't help, but think how powerful this project could be for our students right now!

    I'm very interested in the PD you offered for teachers and how did you encourage collaboration among teachers of different disciplines? And is there a place we could see/hear more of the students' work?

     
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    Michael I. Swart
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    Robert Reardon

    Lead Presenter
    Associate Professor
    May 8, 2020 | 09:38 a.m.

    Thanks, Renae. The whole thing was wonderfully affirming! I can readily see the link to Katrina--except you had it worse.

    I would be delighted to tell you that I had an astonishingly effective PD program, but I don't. I meet with the teachers every month (I call them Moderation Meetings), often accompanied by one of my computer science colleagues and sometimes by another faculty member. We meet at one of the schools (in turn). The teachers bring along artifacts of what the students have done over the preceding month to discuss (think of a relaxed version of the Tuning Protocol) and we talk about/invent what's "on the slab" for next month and what sort of technology will be needed to facilitate those activities. The first semester, it was a lot more on the "invent" side and all those activities were consolidated into two "Curricular Activity System" booklets after that first semester. Those booklets now form the basis of what we do, even as they remain works-in-progress.

    I encourage the teachers to actively seek-out pertinent conferences and professional development activities to attend in addition to one that I designate every now and then. For example, one I designated early on that we learned a lot from participating in was a three-day design-based thinking workshop (to which I also invited the principals--one attended). During the first summer, our then-guru of 3D printing ran a workshop at ECU for the visual arts teachers, and, also early on, in invited some stellar music and visual arts faculty to conduct an intensive one-day workshop on evaluating the teaching of music and visual arts for the principals (two attended). The teachers have initiated attendance at and participation in a number of opportunities. I mentioned the National Art Education Association above, and there have been a couple of national, state, and local venue events (both music and visual arts) in which teachers have participated and/or presented.

    The most recent professional development opportunity was a week-long, state-wide workshop just pre-COVID-19 at which the music teacher gained some insights into augmented reality (AR, among other "computational thinking" topics). AR was to be the icing on the cake of our project until . . . One of my GAs and I had one virtual visit with and one class of visual arts students before everything went sideways. They were so enthusiastic that their teacher described having to emphatically insist that they go to lunch! Now that's evidence of effectiveness for you :-).

    I mentioned above that I intend to construct a longer video of the Big Reveal "real soon now," and I have lots of photos of the students' work that one of my GAs has been working with one of ECU IT folk to post to a website "real soon now" too.

     

     
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    K. Renae Pullen
  • Icon for: K. Renae Pullen

    K. Renae Pullen

    Facilitator
    May 9, 2020 | 02:58 p.m.

    Thank you for sharing. I appreciate that you even encouraged professional learning for your principals. School leaders are so important to the success of a project or program and too often they are unceremoniously left out. And that often doesn't fair well for the project.

    I look forward to the longer video.

  • Icon for: Sonia Ellis

    Sonia Ellis

    Instructional Designer
    May 8, 2020 | 09:05 a.m.

    Very compelling! I was particularly moved by the student who described an element of her artwork as expressing: "No matter what, I've got the strength for it." As mentioned in the preivous comment, I too would love to see more of the students' work. And I look forward to seeing the outcomes of the student focus groups and self-assessments that you mentioned in an earlier reply. 

  • Icon for: Robert Reardon

    Robert Reardon

    Lead Presenter
    Associate Professor
    May 8, 2020 | 01:19 p.m.

    So glad you liked it, Sonia. We're finding that, in these days, everything takes about ten times longer that it used to! When I worked in my ECU office, I could put my foot on anything I needed :-).

  • Icon for: Alan Peterfreund

    Alan Peterfreund

    Executive Director
    May 8, 2020 | 11:03 a.m.

    Robert - Really enjoyed seeing how you pivoted based on the realities caused by the disruption of Hurricane Florence. Also, I appreciated the description of your Moderation Meetings.  On May 26th the RPPforCS community will be discussing how their projects are or will be affected by Covid-19.  Hope you will be able to join and further share your story.

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    Robert Reardon

    Lead Presenter
    Associate Professor
    May 8, 2020 | 01:27 p.m.

    Thanks, Alan. I hope to join that meeting.

    We never thought we would be in a situation where we could very well repeat an analogous process in fall 2020. The concept of "boat" inspired us and Nathalie's woven boats were our canvases in fall 2019. I wonder what would be an appropriate canvas in fall 2020? Maybe a woven laptop? Or a woven school bus with no wheels?

  • Icon for: Alan Peterfreund

    Alan Peterfreund

    Executive Director
    May 8, 2020 | 01:30 p.m.

    Perhaps a woven net with variable sized netting that allows different sized particles to pass through

     

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    Robert Reardon

    Lead Presenter
    Associate Professor
    May 8, 2020 | 01:33 p.m.

    Very apposite. Perhaps N95 of them :-)

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    Robert Quinn

    Higher Ed Faculty
    May 8, 2020 | 06:32 p.m.

    Enjoyed this overview of the AIR with Nathalie Miebach! Hopeful that students were impacted by the transformative power of the arts, and that they can draw on these habits of mind in the years to come. Bravo, Martin, to you and the team!

  • Icon for: Robert Reardon

    Robert Reardon

    Lead Presenter
    Associate Professor
    May 11, 2020 | 09:27 a.m.

    Many thanks, Robbie. It exceeded my expectations--thanks to the support of so many exceptional ECU faculty colleagues and their students!

  • Icon for: John Chikwem

    John Chikwem

    Researcher
    May 12, 2020 | 03:29 p.m.

    I like this video because of its use of visual art, music, dance to understand natural phenomena.

  • Icon for: Robert Reardon

    Robert Reardon

    Lead Presenter
    Associate Professor
    May 12, 2020 | 04:26 p.m.

    Many thanks, John. You have highlighted exactly what Nathalie's aim was. The students weren't just making art/music. They were consciously integrating the weather data that she helped them find.

  • May 12, 2020 | 04:06 p.m.

    Wonderful integration of the arts into STEAM.  Including CT, CS and the visual arts - visualizing data and cross-modal representations.  Great.  Thanks for sharing.

    Can you expound more about how their art projects are connected to the CT and CS aspects of the steam outreach to schools? For Teachers?  Is there a framework? Learning standards and goals? Qualitative evaluations of student participation? Interests? 

  • Icon for: Robert Reardon

    Robert Reardon

    Lead Presenter
    Associate Professor
    May 12, 2020 | 04:36 p.m.

    Wow! Great questions, Michael, thank you. Where to start?

    I think I have covered most the ground in my replies to Margo, Danielle, and Renae above. The "interests" piece is crucial if the learning is to "stick." We were so disappointed that we couldn't continue with the AR piece since that clearly aroused a LOT of interest. We virtually demonstrated the use of a Merge cube with cospaces and the students' eyes popped out of their heads! And then, that was that for the year. The school district wasn't keen for the students to take the iPads home and, even if they had been able to do so, many of the students don't have internet access (outside of a phone hotspot) at home.

    And that is another story entirely . . . but so important!

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