Lauwers, T., Hamner, E., & Nourbakhsh, I. (2010). A strategy for collaborative outreach: lessons from the CSbots project. In Proceedings of the 41st ACM Technical Symposium on Computer Science Education (pp. 315-319). New York: ACM.


Type: Empirical,Practitioner

Purpose: "[T]he development of educational tools and environments... when successful, require many years to integrate into the computer science education community. We introduce a strategy that both speeds uptake in the community and improves the chances of the project creating an educationally successful tool. The strategy hinges on creating an initial community of educators before an educational tool is fully mature but at the point at which it becomes usable by teachers. While this is somewhat analogous to the beta-testing communities in software development, our aim is for the community to drive the underlying design in significant ways. Our context is CSbots, a project to develop a robot, software environment, and associated curricula for introductory computer science education" (p. 315).

Findings: "[O]ur collaborative outreach effort... resulted in the concurrent creation of a community of 30 invested educators and a well aligned educational tool ready for broad dissemination" (p. 315). "After only three years the robot and accompanying software and curriculum are ready for mass production and distribution. We are pursuing plans to expand teacher training opportunities and look forward to a growing community of educators using this technology to teach and inspire their students" (p. 319). "... teachers were able to set up the robots at their school, integrate them into the school environment in a worthwhile and contextually appropriate manner, and when technical difficulties did appear, teachers mostly managed to solve these problems independently" (p. 319).



Sample Size: 5

Participant Type: Five high school teachers participated in a summer workshop for 1.5 hours at Carnegie Melon (CS4HS). This is the initial pool. Because the project was over one year, in the second year they recruited teachers through SIGCSE and the Collegeboard's AP CS listserv, so 17 teachers took a mid-year survey and 15 took an end-of-the-year survey.