Introducing Computational Thinking through Art & Music

Time limit: 60 days


Full course description

Introducing Computational Thinking through Art & Music

Pilot Professional Development Initiative




Computer programming is often viewed by K-12 students as difficult and not aligned with their other interests (Petrie, 2021). Music composition is an engaging activity with a wide appeal to K12 students. It has yielded promising results in increasing student interest across a wide range of demographics (McKlin et al., 2018; Petrie, C., 2021; Siva et al., 2017). 


Virginia teachers are currently tasked with integrating the computer science standards into other content areas. This has created a significant challenge. Unlike other content areas, computer science is rarely taught in teacher preparation programs. Consequently, few K-12 teachers possess background experience in computer science.  This project offers a teacher professional development opportunity to prepare teachers to integrate computer science into their other content areas through art and music composition.


Professional Development


This project will consist of a six-week teacher professional development (PD) experience. It will be conducted in a hybrid environment (both synchronous and asynchronous virtual instruction) during Spring 2022. The PD will introduce K-12 teachers to coding through both music and art composition. 


The course will be supported with TuneScope (, a platform for art and music composition developed through a collaboration among the Department of Computer Science, the Music Department, and the School of Education and Human Development (EHD) at the University of Virginia. Teachers will have the opportunity to design art and music through coding. They will then explore ways in which these methods can be used to incorporate computational thinking into the subjects that they teach.


Participating teacher will receive a stipend of $300. Completion of the weekly modules will take approximately two to three hours per module. At the conclusion of the PD, participants will have access to additional modules they may wish to complete or to alter for use in their classrooms. The PD will be facilitated by Dr. Monty Jones, Associate Professor of Instructional Technology at Virginia Commonwealth University. Dr. Jones has extensive experience in teacher learning of technology integration and has conducted numerous K12 teacher PD experiences (Jones, 2021; Jones et al., 2021; Jones et al., 2020; Jones & Dexter, 2014).


The curriculum for the PD will be modeled on a course developed in the School of Education at the University of Virginia. The course has been approved by the Department of Computer Science for an elective course in the Bachelor of Arts in Computer Science (APCS) program. The average response on summative evaluations has been 4.8 on a scale of 5.0 to date. Class participation over the course of four semesters has been evenly divided between male and female students, indicating that it is engaging to both. 


The art and music modules can be viewed here:


The sequence of coding activities developed has been offered with appropriate modifications at the middle school, high school, community college, and undergraduate level with good results. An accompanying book, Designing Art, Animations, and Music, supports the professional development along with instructional videos, sample code, and examples of student work.


This PD will assist teachers in developing grade appropriate content to address computational concepts in an engaging and effective manner. Teachers will consider how design of art and music through coding can support student learning of computational concepts, how these concepts can be integrated into other content areas, and the conditions in which these activities are most effective.

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