Mathematics & SMERC Colloquium: Integrating Computing into STEM Education

Event Image
math colloquium elise lockwood

School of Mathematical Sciences & Science and Math Education Research Collaborative (SMERC) Colloquium
Integrating Computing into STEM Education: A Case of Python Programming in Combinatorial Contexts

Dr. Elise Lockwood
Associate Professor in the Department of Mathematics, Oregon State University
Rotating Program Officer, Division of Undergraduate Education, National Science Foundation

Register here for Zoom Link


Computational activity, and programming in particular, comprise an increasingly essential aspect of scientific activity, and engaging in computing is as accessible as it ever has been. In STEM education, there is a need to investigate the ways in which students’ computational activity can support students’ reasoning about mathematical and scientific concepts. In this talk, I present results from a study in which undergraduate students engaged with Python programming tasks designed to elicit particular combinatorial ideas. I highlight noteworthy aspects of students’ experiences with computing in this mathematical context, including benefits and drawbacks of working in a computational environment. I suggest that even for students with little programming experience, the computational environment supported their combinatorial reasoning in valuable ways. I conclude by addressing practical issues related to implementation and discussing pedagogical implications. Overall, I seek to frame these specific findings about Python programming in mathematics as an instance of a broader phenomenon, namely highlighting the ways in which computing may be leveraged to support students’ engagement with scientific concepts and practices.

Speaker Bio:
Elise Lockwood is Associate Professor in the Department of Mathematics at Oregon State University, and she is currently serving as a rotating program officer in the Division of Undergraduate Education at the National Science Foundation. She received her PhD from Portland State University and was a postdoctoral scholar at the University of Wisconsin – Madison. Her research focuses on undergraduate students’ reasoning about combinatorics, and she is passionate about improving the teaching and learning of discrete mathematics. More recently, she has investigated the role of computing within mathematics education -- both within combinatorics and in other content domains. Her work has been funded by the National Science Foundation and Google. She received the 2018 John and Annie Selden Award, and she was awarded the 2019 Promising Scholar Award at Oregon State University. She was a 2019 Fulbright Scholar to Oslo, Norway, where she collaborated with researchers at the Center for Computing in Science Education at the University of Oslo. Elise’s favorite part of her work is collaborating with wonderful colleagues and students, and she finds it particularly rewarding when ideas are developed and refined through rich conversations. In her free time, Elise enjoys cooking, reading, running, traveling, playing board games, cheering for the Portland Trail Blazers, and spending time with her two Ragdoll cats.

Intended Audience:
All are welcome. Those with interest in the topic.

Find out more about upcoming speakers on the SMS Colloquium webpage.

This event is hosted by the School of Mathematical Sciences & Science and Math Education Research Collaborative (SMERC).
To request an interpreter, please visit

Raluca Felea
Event Snapshot
When and Where
December 10, 2021
1:25 pm - 2:15 pm
Room/Location: See Zoom Registration Link

This is an RIT Only Event

Interpreter Requested?