The grant proposal describes the “Computer Science for Everyone” program at Granby Elementary. The needs assessment revealed that Granby Elementary School in Norfolk, Virginia has an insufficient level of knowledge about computer science among students due to the lack of computers and training among teachers. Even though the benefits of providing computer classes for elementary school students have been confirmed by numerous research findings, Granby Elementary has not established a comprehensive computer science program for its students. The problem can be solved by creating a computer science club for everyone who is willing to learn computer science.
The primary goal of the program is to improve the level of interest and knowledge about computer science among students of Granby Elementary by establishing a computer science club. The initiative requires funds for three major costs. First, new computers with all required software need to be purchased for the school to meet the needs of the computer science club. Second, teachers need to be trained to provide high-level education in computer science. Finally, teachers need to be paid an additional salary to conduct lessons on a daily basis. A total of $59,061 are required for the project after considering all the risks.
The project requires three teachers, one of which will be the project coordinator and at least six computers. All the other resources will be provided by Granby Elementary. The success of the project will be measured by measuring the level of interest and knowledge about computer science among students of Granby Elementary before and after the project is implemented. A statistically significant difference in the dependent variables will be considered a success.
Granby Elementary school needs to establish a computer science program for PreK-4 students to increase the level of involvement in computer science and improve computer literacy. Granby Elementary School, located in Norfolk, VA, was the educational site for this study. The mission of Granby Elementary School is to “ensure that all families and students are engaged in purposeful learning, students are using metacognition and comprehension strategies across all curriculum areas to ensure life-long learning” (Granby Elementary School, n.d., para. 1). The school currently has 581 students, among which 59.2% are African American, 22.7% are white, and 8.1% are Hispanic (Virginia Department of Education [VDoE], 2020). Almost 97% of the students qualify for free or discounted lunch, which demonstrates that the majority of students are from financially disadvantaged families (VDoE, 2020). The students in the school do not have the opportunity to learn computer science at an appropriate level since many families do not have enough money to afford a computer. Moreover, the computers at school are only 12 in the count, and all of them were purchased more than ten years ago.
The importance of computer science in elementary schools is difficult to overstate. Prottsman (2014) claims that teachers see increased benefits in introducing computer science classes in elementary schools. Computers can be used for a wide variety of activities, including self-education (Prottsman, 2014). Thus, it is crucial for students to become familiar with computer science as early as possible. After conducting longitudinal research, Weintrop et al. (2018) concluded that elementary school students could benefit from learning basic programming skills. Currently, Granby Elementary does not have enough modern computers to provide computer science classes. Moreover, teachers do not have the required knowledge and skills to provide the much-needed computer science education.
The analysis of needs demonstrated that Granby Elementary needs to establish a comprehensive computer science program for its students. The name of the program was chosen to be “Computer Science for Everyone.” The program should include after-school classes for small groups of children interested in computer science. This can be achieved by organizing a small computer science club open to any student of Granby Elementary. The project requires funds for two major aspects, which are reflected in the goals and objectives provided below. In particular, a comprehensive course for all knowledge levels needs to be developed for the club, teachers need to be trained, and new computers need to be purchased. In particular, three teachers need to be trained, and at least six computers need to be purchased.
It was decided to apply for the grant of the National Science Foundation (2021), as the aims of the organization are similar to those of the project. The program conducted by National Science Foundation (2021) aims to provide all U.S. students with the opportunity to participate in computer science and computational thinking education in their schools at the PreK-12 levels. The goals and objectives of the program in Granby elementary listed below demonstrate how they align with the aims of the National Science Foundation.
Goals and Objectives
- Goal #1: Improve the level of computer science competence among teachers in Granby Elementary through training for the proposed Computer Science for All project.
- Objective 1A: By August 2021, develop a training program for teachers that can help to improve the current level of knowledge about computer literacy by 10% to 20% among involved students.
- Objective 1B: By September 2021, have three teachers complete the developed training course.
- Objective 1C: By September 10th, 2021, assess the skill level of all the teachers involved in the program.
- Measure 1A: The program is developed and assessed by a board of experts in Norfolk County, VA. The approval rate of at least 90% of the board of experts will be considered a success.
- Measure 1B: Three teachers from Granby Elementary receive a certificate of completion of the course.
- Measure 1C: The teachers show a level of knowledge of the material of at least 85% demonstrated during the formal assessment procedure.
- Goal #2: Increase the number of modern computers in Granby Elementary for the proposed Computer Science for All project.
- Objective 2A: By July 2021, select all the needed computers and software needed to run the program.
- Objective 2B: By August 2021, acquire sufficient funding to buy six to eight new computers and software needed at Granby Elementary.
- Objective 2C: By September 2021, buy and set up six to eight new computers and the needed software for Granby Elementary to start the program.
- Measure 2A: A list of computer specifications and needed software is developed with a rationale.
- Measure 2B: The required fund are transferred to the school’s account.
- Measure 2C: The computers are purchased and set up in the school with all the required software installed and ready for utilization.
Methodology and Evaluation Plans
The project proposes to create computer science courses for PreK-4 students in an elementary school. First, the project includes creating relevant course materials for the youngest students through collaboration with the most talented and experienced teachers and policymakers in the school country. Second, the project requires creating a special classroom with the latest equipment, including top-quality personal computers, video and audio recording equipment, network essentials, virtual reality, and presentation equipment. Third, the project supposes that essential training will be provided to teachers in the school to help students learn computer science.
The project is crucial for the school and the community, as students currently do not have the opportunity to learn computer science appropriately. Even though there are computer classes for elementary school students, the teachers are undertrained, and there are not enough computers to provide all the students with an adequate level of education. Moreover, the computers in the school are outdated, which makes them difficult to use. Implementation of the proposed project can help to improve the prestige of the school country and help the students receive an appropriate education.
The project was driven by the idea that everyone should have the ability to learn computer science starting from pre-school. The purpose of the project is to increase the level of computer literacy in elementary schools. The initiative is a powerful addition to the current way of improving computer literacy in the community, as it provides the opportunity for children to enroll in a computer science club, which can improve their level of satisfaction with the process of learning and improve the outcomes.
The project is expected to start in July 2021 from the preparation phase. During this phase, the personnel will be trained and all the equipment prepared for the program start. The Computer Science club will be running for an entire academic year; thus, the second stage will start in August 2021 and continue until June 2022. The second stage will be divided into three substages, as a preliminary evaluation of results will be conducted in January 2022. The third stage will start in June 2022, which will be associated with the evaluation of the results and working on possible improvements. The timeline is visualized in Figure 1 below.
The project does not require large amounts of resources, as the club will be based in an elementary school, which has all the required resources. The only non-human resources required are new computers and appropriate software for the computer science course. The human resources that will be needed are the program coordinator, who will manage the project, schedule the classes, evaluate the outcomes, and two teachers. The coordinator will also play a role of a teacher when needed. All the staff members will require training. It is expected that an outside training program will be utilized to raise the level of staff’s competence as Computer Science teachers for K-4 students.
The project will be managed by the project coordinator, who will report to the school’s principal. The coordinator will create schedules for the club at the beginning of every week and control that the teachers provide proper education during the classes. The classes will be provided on a daily basis. The overall number of classes depends upon the number of groups interested in Computer science that will be created. It is expected that there will be between 10 and 15 classes a week provided. The coordinator will run all the communications within the project, make written reports about the progress of the project once a month, and conduct evaluations twice during the project: in January and in June.
Evaluation Research Design, Sample, Reliability, and Validity
One of the most frequently used research designs in evaluation programs is the pre-experimental design (Arora et al., 2019). This approach implies gathering pretest and posttest data utilizing the statistical analysis to understand if the intervention had a statistically significant effect on the dependent variable. The purpose of the project is to increase the level of interest and knowledge about Computer Science among Granby Elementary students. Thus, the levels of knowledge and interest of 100 students will be measured before and after the implementation of the program. Statistical analysis will be performed to understand if the program had a significant impact on the dependent variables. A statistically significant improvement with a large enough effect size will demonstrate the success of the program.
The proposed research design is associated with significant benefits, such as simplicity and low cost, which can be crucial for researchers with a small budget and limited experience. However, the research design is associated with significant drawbacks. For instance, the design does not control for many extraneous factors, which are associated with significant threats to validity, as it is difficult to dismiss a rival hypothesis (Evaluation Toolkit, n.d.). As for the reliability of the method, pre-experimental design is not associated with special threats.
Data and Procedures of Evaluation
The evaluations will require the collection of data concerning two variables, including the level of computer science knowledge and interest in computer science. The data will be collected from 100 students using in-class surveys developed to measure the level of computer science knowledge and interest in computer science. The surveys will be conducted three times, at the beginning of the program (August 2021), at the midpoint evaluation (January 2022), and during the final evaluation (June 2022). The instruments for evaluation will be developed specifically for every age group, as they need to consider the reading and writing abilities of elementary school children
Table 1. Budget
|Name||Title||Hours a week||Salary||Fringe benefits||Grand total|
The coordinator will spend 100% of his time controlling the quality of the provided services and providing classes to students 10 hours a week (2 hours per day after finishing the classes). The total requested salary is $10,000 per annum.
The teachers will spend 100% of their time giving classes to students 10 hours a week (2 hours per day after finishing the classes). The total requested salary is $8,000 per annum.
FICA will be paid for all salaries: $26,000 x.0765 = $1,989.
Unemployment cost is $26,000 x.03 = $780.
Retirement for full-time employees: $26,000 x.06 =$1,560.
- Staff Training
Training will be provided for the teachers and the coordinator. The estimated cost of training is $2,000 per person.
- Computers and software
The estimated cost of every computer is $1,000, with $600 additional spent on software. The program is expected to need eight computers in total.
While there are few risks associated with the program, there are certain costs that should be considered for contingency purposes. The primary risk that may be associated with the additional cost is increased demand for classes from students and parents. As a result, it may be needed to recruit another teacher, which may be associated with another $9,332. Moreover, additional supplies may be needed in case the school will not be able to provide paper, pens, pencils, crayons, and printer ink. Thus, an additional $600 should be prepared in case of supply shortages. The two risks mentioned above are the only parts of the contingency plan for the present project. The total amount of funds required for the project to operate for one year including the contingency plan-associated expenses are.
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