Archive for April 27, 2010
Cameron Wilson and I wrote the Education column for the Viewpoints section of Communications of the ACM this month. Our title is “How to make progress in computing education?” where the subtitle (provided by the editors) gets it right: “Improving the research base for computing education requires securing competitive funding commitments.” It’s an analysis of where there is funding for computing education (answer: too few places), and where there is funding that’s not being tapped well by computing educators yet (answer: NSF’s Education and Human Resources (EHR) Directorate). NSF’s computing directorate programs, CPATH and BPC, together get about $20M per year. EHR’s research budget is $850M per year. We make concrete suggestions for what we can do to increase funding for computing education research.
I just received word that a National Academies report on computational thinking has just been released. It’s a great committee that wrote the report: Marcia Linn, Al Aho, Yasmin Kafai, Janet Kolodner (from Georgia Tech!), Larry Snyder, and Uri Wilensky. (I don’t know Brian Blake or Bob Constable, but I’d like to meet them. They’re in a good crowd!) The PDF is free to download, and I’m looking forward to reading it.
Report of a Workshop on the Scope and Nature of Computational Thinking presents a number of perspectives on the definition and applicability of computational thinking. For example, one idea expressed during the workshop is that computational thinking is a fundamental analytical skill that everyone can use to help solve problems, design systems, and understand human behavior, making it useful in a number of fields. Supporters of this viewpoint believe that computational thinking is comparable to the linguistic, mathematical and logical reasoning taught to all children.