Archive for June 7, 2012
I found this fascinating discussion about the new Common Core standards efforts around English Language Arts, and it got me wondering about creating an analogy. Are the parallels to the below for computing literacy? ”Students should read as much nonfiction as fiction.” What does that mean in terms of the notations of computing? Students should read as many program proofs as programs? Students should read as much code as comments? The “coherent knowledge” part seems to connect to the kinds of ideas in the CS:Principles effort. What is “close reading” of programming?
I’m sure that there are not one-to-one mappings from English Language Arts to Computing, but they are interesting to think about. If this is what it means to be text literate, what does it mean to be computing literate?
Say what you will about CCSS, but there are three big ideas embedded within the English Language Arts standards that deserve to be at the very heart of literacy instruction in U.S. classrooms, with or with or without standards themselves:
1. Students should read as much nonfiction as fiction.
2. Schools should ensure all children—and especially disadvantaged children—build coherent background knowledge that is essential to mature reading comprehension.
3. Success in reading comprehension depends less on “personal response” and more on close reading of text.
Sally Fincher came to the CS10K Professional Development workshop last week, and I asked her why she thought Google was doing this. She suggested that it’s probably because the UK doesn’t gave an effort like NSF’s CS10K, so Google is trying to play that role. (Maybe the UK should try to clone Jan Cuny – if anyone can build up a nation of high school CS teachers, she can!)
He announced that Google would provide the funds to support Teach First – a charity which puts “exceptional” graduates on a six-week training programme before deploying them to schools where they teach classes over a two-year period.
Many stay on beyond that term while others pursue places at leading businesses associated with the programme.
At present the scheme is limited to seven regions of England: East Midlands; Kent and Medway; London; North East; North West; West Midlands; and Yorkshire and Humber.
“Scrapping the existing curriculum was a good first step – the equivalent of pulling the plug out of the wall” said Eric Schmidt, Chairman, Google
Mr Schmidt said the donation would be used to train “more than 100 first rate science teachers over the next three years, with the majority focused on computer science”.