About Us

This project summary is excerpted from our grant proposal to the National Science Foundation.

[The REThink CS @ Drexel site is] a summer research institute in computer science for STEM high school teachers and 2-year college faculty in the City of Philadelphia and Greater Philadelphia Metropolitan Area. The summer institute will be held annually for 7 weeks and will involve 10-11 teachers per year. The objectives of the program are to build partnerships between high schools, community colleges and the university, introduce teachers to cutting edge research in the computer science community, inform and excite them about computer science principles and computational thinking, produce learning materials for use in high school and community college STEM curricula, and expand the pipeline of students studying STEM and computing curricula in college.

Participating schools and districts will be drawn from the City of Philadelphia and greater metropolitan area. A diverse set of schools representing urban, suburban, public and private institutions in two states, will partner with us: (George Washington Carver) High School of Engineering and Science, Moorestown High School, Springfield High School and Burlington County College. They will provide representatives for an advisory panel for the project and will be a preliminary source for participants. 

Drexel’s College of Computing & Informatics has active research programs in information privacy, artificial intelligence, software design and architecture, scientific computing, computer algorithms, computer graphics and medical imaging, and computer gaming. Research projects from these areas will share big data and machine learning as a compelling and unifying theme, underlying widespread application areas.

The summer institute will include 1 week of orientation, including the sources of big data, techniques of handling and analyzing big data, overviews of project areas, and a symposium exposing the ‘big ideas’ and computational thinking practices of the CS Principles project. Teachers will spend the remaining time performing research with faculty and students in the associated labs and initiating work on educational modules for use at their home institutions. They will prepare poster presentations and videos summarizing their projects, initial accomplishments, further expectations and descriptions of their modules. 

Participants will remain engaged year-round by participating in “Teacher2Teacher” discussion groups, facilitated by the Math Forum @ Drexel. They will also visit campus for quarterly meetings, culminating in a 1-day showcase event in the spring to present results, materials and posters, and to which their colleagues and students are invited.