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Leveraging Bilingualism to Build Robots and English: Innovative Approaches for Latino Newcomers

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Participate and share : Poster


Saturday, December 5, 8:00–9:00 am PST (Pacific Standard Time)

Dr. Tasha Darbes  
Jonas De Leon  
Yecenia Delarosa  

STEAM education aspires to be inclusive, but emergent bilinguals face challenges accessing content and full participation. Discover how an innovative high school incorporates translanguaging — the strategic use of bilingual and cultural resources — into its robotics curriculum. We also discuss the challenges for students learning English during remote learning.

Audience: Curriculum/district specialists, Teachers, Teacher education/higher ed faculty
Skill level: Beginner
Attendee devices: Devices useful
Attendee device specification: Smartphone: Windows, Android, iOS
Laptop: Chromebook, Mac, PC
Tablet: Android, iOS, Windows
Participant accounts, software and other materials: The following apps can be downloaded to devices:
Webjets

https://edu.webjets.io/?_ga=2.230844831.1401699607.1569596447-1300928488.1569596447

Notability

https://www.gingerlabs.com/

Topic: Equity & inclusion
Grade level: 9-12
Subject area: STEM/STEAM, ESL
ISTE Standards: For Educators:
Designer
  • Use technology to create, adapt and personalize learning experiences that foster independent learning and accommodate learner differences and needs.
Facilitator
  • Foster a culture where students take ownership of their learning goals and outcomes in both independent and group settings.
For Students:
Global Collaborator
  • Students contribute constructively to project teams, assuming various roles and responsibilities to work effectively toward a common goal.

Proposal summary

Purpose & objective

Educators not only need to understand how to design instruction to teach content in STEAM areas such as robotics, they need to know how to address the needs of culturally and linguistically diverse learners who may experience barriers to accessing curriculum (Rodriguez, 2015). Proficiency in English is often assumed in STEAM education, but language barriers can limit the opportunities for English language learners and immigrant-origin students to access content and fully participate in inquiry-based environments. There is a need not only to develop strategies and methods scaffold language, scientific thinking, but to create learning environments that are truly inclusive and culturally responsive.

In this presentation, participants will learn how one exceptional robotics club developed strategies and practices that integrated translanguaging and the cultural resources of students to promote STEAM education in a high-poverty, urban school.Robotics and computational thinking are areas that have been identified for its potential to engage diverse students through hands-on activities that integrate scientific inquiry with language and literacy development (Casey, Gill, Pennington & Mireles, 2018). Research has also suggested that translanguaging – the strategic, simultaneous use of the bilingual and cultural resources of students – can be effective in integrating content learning in classrooms and language development (Infante & Licona, 2018). Translanguaging allows learners to use their multiple languages during instruction to more effectively participate, create community among group members, and access content learning. While students often translanguage as a natural part of their unsupervised interactions, educators can learn how to more effectively structure and purposefully use translanguaging to leverage learning. Translanguaging is especially suited to the interactive and communication-based projects like robotics.

During the interactive portion of the presentation, participants will learn about and experience for themselves using language and culture as a resource in designing STEM experiential learning, as well as effective strategies that can be used to support culturally and linguistically diverse students.

These strategies were developed by educators and students from Gregio Luperón High School for Science and Mathematics, an innovative, bilingual STEM high school that serves newcomer students in New York City. The school population consists of 78% English Language Learners (ELLs), 99% qualify for free or reduced lunch and 100% identify as Hispanic. The school is unique in its approach that combines bilingual education at the high school level with a strong sense of community and culturally responsive curriculum. The high school opened a robotics lab in 2017 and has sent teams to compete in the FIRST Robotics competitions. During this time, the program has developed strategies that allow the students, most of whom are not proficient in English and may have had little access to quality science instruction prior to immigration, to fully engage and participate in a demanding robotics curriculum.

Presenters will first provide an overview of the high school and the sociocultural context of the students and the issues in designing curricula for robotics and computational thinking that draws on language and culture differences as resources. Next, participants will learn about translanguaging strategies -- how bilingualism is deployed to create inclusive, productive learning environments in the robotics club. Participants will then learn how the robotics program embodies a truly cultural-sustaining pedagogy. Lastly, participants will experience the translanguaging strategies for themselves by being taught a robotics lesson in Spanish or Russian. By the end of the presentation, participants will know the importance of integrating language and culture into STEM curricula and effective ways to implement these practices. They will be able to use strategies to more effectively structure presentations and discussions in multilingual contexts; provides scaffolds for language learners; apply digital technology such as Notability or Webjets in a multilingual context.

Outline

I.Presenters will first provide an overview of the high school and the sociocultural context of the students and the issues in designing curricula for robotics and computational thinking that draws on language and culture differences as resources. (10 minutes)

II.Next, participants will learn about translanguaging strategies -- how bilingualism is deployed to create inclusive, productive learning environments in the robotics club. (15 minutes)

III. Participants will then learn how the robotics program embodies a truly cultural-sustaining pedagogy. (5 minutes)

IV. Lastly, participants will experience the translanguaging strategies for themselves by being taught a robotics lesson in Spanish or Russian. (20 minutes)

V Review and Debrief By the end of the presentation, participants will know the importance of integrating language and culture into STEM curricula and effective ways to implement these practices. (10 minutes)

Supporting research

Benitti, Fabiane Barreto Vavassori. “Exploring the Educational Potential of Robotics in Schools: A Systematic Review.” Computers & Education 58, no. 3 (April 1, 2012): 978–88. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.compedu.2011.10.006.

Casey, E. J., Gill,P., Pennington,L. and Mireles, S. (2018) Lines, Roamers, and Squares: Oh My! Using Floor Robots to Enhance Hispanic Students’ Understanding of Programming. Education and Information Technologies 23, no. 4 1531–46. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10639-017-9677-z.

Rodriguez, A. J. (2015) Sociotransformative STEM Education. STEM Road Map, July 3, 2015. https://doi.org/10.4324/9781315753157-9.

Collier, S., Burston, B. and Rhodes, A. (2016) Teaching STEM as a Second Language.” Journal for Multicultural Education
https://doi.org/10.1108/JME-01-2016-0013.

Infante, P. and Licona, P. (2018) Translanguaging as Pedagogy: Developing Learner Scientific Discursive Practices in a Bilingual Middle School Science Classroom. International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism, 1–14.

Hoffman, L., and Zollman, A. (2016). What STEM Teachers Need to Know and Do for English Language Learners (ELLs): Using Literacy to Learn. Journal of STEM Teacher Education 51, no. 1 https://doi.org/doi.org/10.30707/JSTE51.1Hoffman.

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Presenters

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Dr. Tasha Darbes, Pace University
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Jonas De Leon, Gregorio Luperon High School
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Yecenia Delarosa, Gregorio Luperon High School

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