NERC/ASU
Partnership

The Neurodiversity Education Research Center and Arizona State University are partnering on a National Science Foundation-funded project. This Research Practice Partnership (RPP) explores computer science education as it intersects with disability and the arts. Working with embodied technologies and constructivist pedagogy, we strive to build rich, inclusive computational learning experiences for all students. The partnership extends beyond the university and school settings to include parents, community members, and industry leaders.

Research Questions:

  1. How can Telematic Embodied Learning (TEL) approaches, enriched with computational media (video and sound), foster computational thinking (CT) in computer science contexts when bolstered by neurodiverse teaching practices and pedagogies?
  2. How do teachers who participate in TEL workshops modify and diversify their teaching practices of CT?
  3. How can TEL approaches be adapted in other schools serving students with autism to develop CT?
  4. How can TEL approaches augment the learning of CT in computer science by developing socio-emotional skills that will enhance future employment for neurodiverse students with autism?

This is a three-year project funded by an NSF Computer Science for All grant.

1

First Year 2021-2022 ​

Experienced teachers of neurodivergent middle school students (Teacher Fellows) worked alongside teacher educators and experts in computer science, media studies, and the arts to co-design wearable devices, music apps, and CT activities during four workshops. Teacher Fellows piloted the various iterations in their classrooms and received feedback from their students. Central to this work was the building, playing, and performing of wearable digital musical instruments.

2

Second Year 2022-2023

Teacher Fellows and the ASU research team refined devices and apps while developing a set of four CT lesson kits. Each kit included a full lesson and ideas for extensions, expansions across content areas, and adapations. Lessons also included notes on how to develop neurodiverse workplace skills. Teacher Fellows introduced lessons to teachers and middle school students through interactive demonstrations at a culminating event called Neurodiversity STEAM Fest, hosted at ASU’s Tempe campus.
3

Third Year 2023-2024

The research team is currently seeking 25 middle school teachers to participate in a series of six Teacher Fellow-led workshops. Teacher Fellows will introduce the co-designed curriculum during the workshops and the research team will support teacher implementation in their classrooms.

Tentative Workshop Schedule (9:00AM-1:00PM Arizona Time):
December 9, 2023
January 13, 2024 (cancelled)
February 3, 2024
February 24, 2024
March 23, 2024
April 6, 2024

Final workshop (TBD)

If interested in this opportunity, please contact Anani Vasquez at avasquez@neurodiversitycenter.org

View Informational webinar (Passcode: Sa.4.C.c) | Register

The research team is also currently seeking employers who are interested in learning more about the neurodiversity paradigm, neurodivergent employee talent development, and supporting neurodivergence in the workplace. Interested employers would participate in 5 contact hours of research-related activities.

If interested this opportunity, please contact Corey Reutlinger at creutlin@asu.edu.