Computing Community Consortium Blog

The goal of the Computing Community Consortium (CCC) is to catalyze the computing research community to debate longer range, more audacious research challenges; to build consensus around research visions; to evolve the most promising visions toward clearly defined initiatives; and to work with the funding organizations to move challenges and visions toward funding initiatives. The purpose of this blog is to provide a more immediate, online mechanism for dissemination of visioning concepts and community discussion/debate about them.

Excitement around K-12 CS Education, but there’s work to be done by the CS Community

September 22nd, 2015 / in Announcements, CS education, pipeline, research horizons, Research News / by Ann Drobnis

Ranshapeimage_1The following is a blog post by Ran Libeskind-Hadas, R. Michael Shanahan Professor and Computer Science Department Chair at Harvey Mudd College, Co-Chair of CRA’s Education subcommittee (CRA-E), and former Computing Community Consortium (CCC) Council Member and Debra Richardson, founding Dean of the UC Irvine Bren School of Information and Computer Science and CCC Council Member.

Mayor Bill de Blasio announced this week that every public school in New York City- elementary through high school – must offer computer science courses to all students within ten years. It is estimated that fewer than 10% of schools in New York City currently offer a CS course and only 1% of students take such a course. CS will not be required of all students, but the opportunity to take a CS course will be available in every school.

Likewise, San Francisco Unified School District announced last month that it would add computer science instruction for all students at every grade level, beginning as early as preschool. And, the Chicago Public Schools are implementing a K-12 computer science curriculum and will make computer science a graduation requirement by 2019.
It seems inevitable that the initiatives by New York, San Francisco and Chicago will encourage other cities to follow suit.

According to an article in the New York Times, about 5000 NYC teachers will need to be trained to meet Mayor de Blasio’s initiative. As similar initiatives are adopted elsewhere, the demand for curricula and pre- and in-service teacher training will grow dramatically.

The computer science community must be proactive in developing curricula and training teachers for these initiatives. Good curricula and teacher training can showcase the intellectual beauty of our field, demonstrate its relevance to society, and provide students with valuable skills that they can leverage in their other academic subjects and use to express their creativity.

Getting this right requires that we invest seriously in computer science education research at the university level. We need high-quality research in computer science pedagogy and best teaching practices. We need excellent pre-service and in-service teacher training. We need to take a close look at what physics, mathematics, and other communities have done in education research and teacher training.

The Computing Community Consortium (CCC) will release a whitepaper later this fall making the case for computer science departments to invest in education research, describing some of the major intellectual challenges in the field, and proposing strategies for building strength in this vitally important field. Stay tuned!

Excitement around K-12 CS Education, but there’s work to be done by the CS Community