Posts tagged ‘computing education’

Shortage in the IT U.S. labor market? Or just a lack of graduates?

Is the shortage of STEM graduates a myth, as IEEE has been arguing recently?  Is the case for IT different than the case for STEM overall?

I found the analysis linked below interesting.  Most IT workers do not have an IT-related degree.  People with CS degrees are getting snapped up.  The suggestion is that there’s not a shortage of IT workers, because IT workers are drawn from many disciplines.  There may be a shortage of IT workers who have IT training.

IT workers, who make up 59 percent of the entire STEM workforce, are predominantly drawn from fields outside of computer science and mathematics, if they have a college degree at all. Among the IT workforce, 36 percent do not have a four-year college degree; of those who do, only 38 percent have a computer science or math degree, and more than a third (36 percent) do not have a science or technology degree of any kind. Overall, less than a quarter (24 percent) of the IT workforce has at least a bachelor’s degree in computer science or math. Of the total IT workforce, two-thirds to three-quarters do not have a technology degree of any type (only 11 percent have an associate degree in any field).4

Although computer science graduates are only one segment of the overall IT workforce, at 24 percent, they are the largest segment by degree (as shown in Figure F, they are 46 percent of college graduates entering the IT workforce, while nearly a third of graduates entering IT do not have a STEM degree). The trend in computer scientist supply is important as a source of trained graduates for IT employers, particularly for the higher-skilled positions and industries, but it is clear that the IT workforce actually draws from a pool of graduates with a broad range of degrees.

via Guestworkers in the high-skill U.S. labor market: An analysis of supply, employment, and wage trends | Economic Policy Institute.

February 13, 2014 at 1:16 am 6 comments

Are schools seeing CS as an elementary school activity?

The Atlanta Public Schools has a short article about their involvement in the Hour of Code — and it was all elementary school children.  As far as I know, there is no more AP CS in any Atlanta Public high school.  I’m wondering if the emphasis on “starting early” is having an unexpected effect.  Are schools seeing activities like Blockly and Scratch as elementary school activities, and computer science belongs there, not in high schools?

As members of the APS IT department went out to observe students throughout the district participating in the Hour of Code they observed computer science education at its finest. Students were actively engaged in challenges that required them to utilize high level problem solving and critical thinking skills.  Students identified  and found ways to correct their mistakes until they were successful in completing the activity.

Lavant Burgess, a fifth grader at E.L. Connally Elementary, stated, “I like how it made me think. I had to keep using different strategies to figure out how to get the robot to the right squares.”

via The Hour of Code 2013: APS students explore computer science skills and careers | Talk Up APS.

February 4, 2014 at 1:11 am 6 comments

Hiring Lecturers (face-to-face and online) at Georgia Tech

The College of Computing at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, Georgia invites applications for full-time, non-tenure-track faculty positions at the rank of Instructor or Lecturer (based on experience) to start in May 2014.  Primary responsibilities are to provide high quality classroom teaching and service to the department.  In addition, the College is specifically looking for candidates interested in performing as Instructor of Record for large online master’s degree courses with prerecorded video lecture content.  Applicants must have a minimum of a Master’s Degree in Computer Science or a related field. This position is renewable annually based on funding and the needs of the College.  This is a 9 month contract although summer teaching is typically available.

Applications should include a cover letter, curriculum vitae, teaching statement, material relevant to evaluating the applicant’s teaching abilities, and the names of at least three references.    These documents should be emailed to recruiting@cc.gatech.edu with “Lecturer Vacancy” in the subject line.  Also, candidates are requested to ask references to send their letters directly to the search committee via electronic mail to recruiting@cc.gatech.edu and ask them to put your name in the subject line.  For full consideration, interested individuals are asked to apply by April 15, 2014.  However, posting will remain open until position(s) are filled.

Duties, Responsibilities and Assignments

The overall responsibility of the lecturers and instructors at the College of Computing is to teach such Computer Science classes as are assigned to them, usually the large first and second year classes.  The specific duties involved in teaching such a class are:

1.     Preparing and maintaining a class syllabus and schedule.

2.     Preparing and delivering materials for each of the scheduled meeting times of the class. For Online courses monitor course progress and activity and respond appropriately to any problems.

3.     Holding regularly scheduled office hours to assist students who are having any difficulty with course materials.

4.     If Teaching Assistants (TAs) are required for the class,

  • a.      Making the selection of TAs to hire for the class
  • b.     Ensuring that each TA is trained with respect to their legal obligations to the students and to the technical content of the class.
  • c.      Ensuring appropriate conduct of the TAs.

5.     Supervising the development of, and approving the content of, all assignments given to the students in the class.

6.     Supervising the development of, and approving the content of, all evaluation materials given to the students in the class.

7.     Supervising and ensuring the correctness and fairness of all grading activities in the class.

8.     Computing and delivering to the Registrar’s Office mid-term and final grades for the class.

9.     Assisting in reviews of their fellow lecturers on a regular basis.

10.  Participating in committees and other administrative activities as required by the administration.

January 24, 2014 at 9:23 am 2 comments

Taking on the challenge of creating digital technologies with an online course for teachers

Yay Nick and Katrina!

The University of Adelaide and Google today announce a free open online course to help primary school teachers across Australia bring computer science and computational thinking into classrooms.

The course, to be available from March 2014, will help provide resources and example learning activities for the Digital Technologies section of the new national curriculum, from kindergarten to Year 6.

To be announced today at a Digital Technologies Curriculum Summit hosted by Google in Sydney, the project is bringing together the expertise of a network of teachers and industry representatives to develop materials that will help teachers meet the learning objectives of the new curriculum.

“Our ultimate aim is to enable Australia’s future as creators of digital technology, not just consumers,” says project leader Associate Professor Katrina Falkner, Deputy Head and Director of Teaching in the University’s School of Computer Science.

via Taking on the digital technologies challenge.

January 20, 2014 at 1:27 am Leave a comment

NBA Superstar Chris Bosh: Here’s Why You Should Learn to Code — Impact?

It is cool to have a professional basketball player promoting learning to program in Wired.  This connects to an idea that I’ve been exploring with Betsy diSalvo.  What is the impact of this kind of image?  I don’t think it’s negligible.  It’s not sufficient to get a kid into computing, but I wonder if it’s the hook to get them to consider computing.

Being a kid of the 1990s and living in a house run by tech-savvy parents, I began to notice that the world around me was spinning on an axis powered by varying patterns of 1s and 0s. We’d be fools to ignore the power of mastering the designing and coding of those patterns. If brute physical strength ran one era, and automation the next, this is the only way we can keep up. Most jobs of the future will be awarded to the ones who know how to code.

We use code every time we’re on the phone, on the web, out shopping — it’s become how our world is run. So I take comfort in having a basic understanding of how something as big as this works.

via NBA Superstar Chris Bosh: Here’s Why You Should Learn to Code | Wired Opinion | Wired.com.

January 8, 2014 at 1:27 am Leave a comment

Michelle Obama wants more kids to go to college to be software designers

I like that “software designers” is part of the story.

The first lady will add that whether students want to be doctors, teachers, mechanics or software designers, “you have got to do whatever it takes to continue your education after high school — whether that’s going to a community college, or getting a technical certificate, or completing a training opportunity, or heading off to a four-year college.”

Aides in Mrs. Obama’s office said she would visit other schools around the country and use social media to appeal to students, conveying the message that higher education is a door to a wider world.

via Michelle Obama Edges Into a Policy Role on Higher Education – NYTimes.com.

December 16, 2013 at 1:00 am Leave a comment

Lessons learned from ECEP: How do we change a state? (plus Resources for Teachers) #CSEdWeek

I wrote up a report on our Summit on Computing Education in South Carolina for Blog@CACM (and here’s the link back to my original post on the summit). It went well, in that we got the kind of attendees we wanted and had the kinds of discussions we wanted. I was particularly pleased with the energy up through the final session.

Barbara Ericson did a nice job of collecting a bunch of URL’s to resources for new Computer Science teachers, and then created a PowerPoint tour of them. I’ve posted these on a new Resources for New CS Teachers page here on the blog.

I learned a lot at the Summit. The issues in South Carolina are different from the ones in Georgia, and they’re different again in Massachusetts and California. That’s what’s making this ECEP Alliance work interesting and complicated.

What’s interesting is that we’re starting to see some common themes. I wouldn’t call these experimental results, since you can’t easily do experiments comparing states. Instead, these are some observations from our first four case studies.

Having a statewide organization is an enormous advantage: We work in California through Debra Richardson who heads up an organization called ACCESS with an Executive Director focused just on CS Ed in the state, Julie Flapan. ACCESS is about making computing education policy reform happen in California. That’s a huge advantage — a single point of contact to other efforts, a coordinating point for the state.

We started work in South Carolina because of IT-oLogy, a public-private partnership for advancing IT. As we started planning for the summit, we realized that we need more connections, so we formed a Steering Committee with representatives from across the state, from the Department of Education, to high schools, from Universities to private industry. That Steering Committee was very helpful in getting the word out about the summit and helping us to understand the issues when assembling the program.

Statewide meetings and summits help to make things happen: We launched the higher education part of Georgia Computes in 2007 at a meeting for CS department representatives from across the University System of Georgia. The summit in South Carolina has really got discussion going there (here’s a nice piece in the Columbia The Free Times after the summit). Massachusetts just held a statewide meeting of everyone offering CS professional development across the state. These meetings aren’t a waste of time — they get people focused on the issues, at high-bandwidth, and attract attention to the issues.  We’ve already been contacted by people in other states who want to organize similar summits.

A full-time statewide organizer is key: We couldn’t have done what we’ve done in Georgia without Barbara Ericson. Having full-time staff has similarly been key in Massachusetts, California, and South Carolina. Maybe you could you get a state to reform its computing education without a full-time person, with volunteers contributing their time. We’ve just seen how valuable it is to have a professional being the point of contact and focusing on making change happen.

December 13, 2013 at 1:59 am 1 comment

SXSWedu Panel Discussion: Engaging Students with CS Education #CSEdWeek

Nice to hear that computing education will be at SXSW.

I’m pleased to announce that my SXSWedu proposal “Engaging Students with Computer Science Education” has been accepted as a panel discussion! Here is a brief abstract describing the purpose of the session:

“Current trends show a loss of student interest in computer science careers and degrees across the U.S., especially among women and minorities, even though the need for qualified candidates in this field has never been greater. Across the country, computer science experts, computer science educators, researchers, and even policymakers are developing initiatives that address these problems.

In this panel, the leaders of three such initiatives will share their perspectives on computer science education, gender and diversity in the field, and high-quality instructional design for computer science students and teachers alike. Their respective programs, Project Engage (University of Texas, Austin), Exploring Computer Science: Los Angeles (UCLA), and New Mexico Computer Science for All (University of New Mexico) represent the latest large-scale efforts in computer science education. Educators, practitioners, and researchers can all learn from their collective expertise.”

via SXSWedu Panel Discussion – Engaging Students with Computer Science Education | ain’t what it used to be.

December 12, 2013 at 1:58 am Leave a comment

A BBC Broadcast on Computing: The Joy of Logic #CSEdWeek

Not sure how (if?) we can see this in the US, but it sounds really good.

A sharp, witty, mind-expanding and exuberant foray into the world of logic with computer scientist Professor Dave Cliff. Following in the footsteps of the award-winning ‘The Joy of Stats’ and its sequel, ‘Tails You Win – The Science of Chance’, this film takes viewers on a new rollercoaster ride through philosophy, maths, science and technology- all of which, under the bonnet, run on logic.

Wielding the same wit and wisdom, animation and gleeful nerdery as its predecessors, this film journeys from Aristotle to Alice in Wonderland, sci-fi to supercomputers to tell the fascinating story of the quest for certainty and the fundamentals of sound reasoning itself.

Dave Cliff, professor of computer science and engineering at Bristol University, is no abstract theoretician. 15 years ago he combined logic and a bit of maths to write one of the first computer programs to outperform humans at trading stocks and shares. Giving away the software for free, he says, was not his most logical move…

With the help of 25 seven-year-olds, Professor Cliff creates, for the first time ever, a computer made entirely of children, running on nothing but logic. We also meet the world’s brainiest whizz-kids, competing at the International Olympiad of Informatics in Brisbane, Australia.

‘The Joy of Logic’ also hails logic’s all-time heroes: George Boole who moved logic beyond philosophy to mathematics; Bertrand Russell, who took 360+ pages but heroically proved that 1 + 1 = 2; Kurt Godel, who brought logic to its knees by demonstrating that some truths are unprovable; and Alan Turing, who, with what Cliff calls an ‘almost exquisite paradox’, was inspired by this huge setback to logic to conceive the computer.

Ultimately, the film asks, can humans really stay ahead? Could today\’s generation of logical computing machines be smarter than us? What does that tell us about our own brains, and just how ‘logical’ we really are…?

via BBC Four – The Joy of Logic.

December 11, 2013 at 1:36 pm 2 comments

Teach Real Algebra with Code: The Interdisciplinary Program Bootstrap #CSEdWeek

I got a chance to learn more about Bootstrap when Kathi Fisler visited us here at Georgia Tech recently.  This article doesn’t do a good job of selling the program.  Bootstrap is important for showing how programming can be used to teach something else that we agree is important.

“When you hear, ‘This is so amazing! These apps teach kids to program!’ That’s snake oil. Every minute your students spend on empty engagement while they’re failing algebra, you’re assuring that they’re not going to college. Studies show that the grade kids get in Algebra I is the most significant grade to predict future income.”

via GoLocalProv | News | Julia Steiny: Teach Real Algebra Instead of Wasting Time with Apps.

December 10, 2013 at 1:56 am 23 comments

NOW is the time to apply for NSF Computing Education funding

Last month, I wrote about the new NSF program Improving Undergraduate Stem Education (see NSF page on IUSE here). I talked to Jane Prey about this program a couple weeks ago, and she was concerned. She said that lots of people are expressing doubt about applying for a program that only has a single page description–not the standard multi-page solicitation.

That’s exactly why this is the time to apply! IUSE doesn’t have a solicitation this year, but most likely will in future years. That means that anything goes this year! If you have any idea that you want to get funded, THIS is the year to apply.

The program description is wonderfully broad:

  • Want to work on broadening participation in computing? It’s there: “broadening participation of individuals and institutions in STEM fields.”
  • Want to work on after school programs, service learning, new ways of structuring your department, formal education research, new ways of measuring learning? It’s all there: “experiential learning, assessment/metrics of learning and practice, scholarships, foundational education research, professional development/institutional change, formal and informal learning environments.”
  • Want to work on teacher professional development, or even adult learners? It’s there: “educating a STEM-literate populace, improving K-12 STEM education, encouraging life-long learning, and building capacity in higher education.”

In short, the lack of a formal solicitation means that there are few barriers. You should go for it.

From here on, this is my advice based on talking with NSF program managers and having written (rejected mostly, but a bunch accepted) proposals. This is not coming from NSF:

  • You need to demonstrate that your proposal has intellectual merit and broader impacts. That’s part of any NSF proposal.
  • No, there’s nothing there that says you must have evaluation, but if you read phrases like “empirically validated teaching practices,” you have to believe that funded proposals will have good evaluation. You can probably be competitive without an external evaluator if you come up with a good evaluation plan in the proposal body itself. If you don’t know how to do this, bring in an external evaluator.
  • The really tough part of applying to a program without a solicitation is deciding how much to budget. Here’s me just gazing into a crystal ball: Smaller but realistic budgets have the greatest chance of getting funded. If you can do your project in $100-200K/year for two to three years, you increase your odds of getting funded. I think there’s a psychological barrier for review committees at a $1M proposal, so stay below that or make your really proposal great.

The big message is: Apply on February 4, 2014. Take this rare opportunity to get your wildest and most exciting ideas on the table at NSF.

December 6, 2013 at 1:24 am Leave a comment

CRAE Website Launched: Education Committee of the Computing Research Association

Quoting from the latest CRA Newsletter (below).  Note carefully: The Education Committee of the Computing Research Association is focused on Computing Education, not Computing Education Research. Computing Education Research is outside of CRA’s purview:

The Education Committee of the Computing Research Association (CRA-E) has launched its website: www.cra.org/crae. CRA-E’s mission is to address society’s need for a continuous supply of talented and well-educated computing researchers by providing resources to inform, assist, and guide the computing community.

Resources on the site include:
· White papers on trends, best practices, and recommendations for leaders in academic, research, and funding agencies.
· Resources for students and faculty to encourage and enhance undergraduate research and to increase participation of underrepresented groups.
· Materials and meetings that allow computing faculty, practitioners, and students to contribute to a strong research pipeline.

The CRA-E is a committee of the Computing Research Association (CRA).  CRA-E’s mission is to address society’s need for a continuous supply of talented and well-educated computing researchers.  In particular, the committee works toward the objective of maintaining a healthy pipeline of domestic students who continue on to graduate school and enter careers in research.

The committee currently has two main threads of activities: the Pipeline group (“PIPE”) and the Preparing Undergraduates for REsearch (“PURE”) group.  PIPE seeks to understand and improve the pipeline of domestic students to doctoral programs.  It’s activities include collecting, analyzing, and interpreting data and disseminating its findings to the computing research community.  The PURE group is engaged in identifying best practices in undergraduate research and developing resources for undergraduates interested in research and graduate school and for faculty interested in mentoring undergraduate researchers.

via CRAE | Education Committee of the Computing Research Association.

December 3, 2013 at 1:36 am 2 comments

Paying to attract more CS teachers in England

Computing is included as one of the priorities in England’s offer of special funding to attract more teachers.  Scholarships up to 25K pounds are pretty impressive.  Texas is offering loan forgiveness. I don’t know if there’s anyone else in the US trying this approach.

Schools Minister David Laws said more scholarships and bursaries would be available to help recruit the most talented graduates with the potential to be brilliant teachers in key subjects. This would help raise standards in schools and ensure all children were given a good education.

Scholarships, awarded by respected subject organisations, will be available to the most talented maths, physics, chemistry and computing trainees. Bursaries will be available to top graduates in maths, physics, chemistry, computing, and languages, in primary and in priority subjects at secondary school (English, history, biology, geography, music, and design and technology).

via Bigger bursaries and scholarships to attract more top graduates into teaching – Press releases – GOV.UK.

November 22, 2013 at 1:43 am 1 comment

A set of top Computer Science Education blogs from @DrTomCrick

I’m honored and pleased to be in this set!  Worth checking out, every one.

Further to my most-read blog post from May 2012: A set of top Computer Science blogs, 80,000 hits and counting, here’s a follow-up: blogs on computer science education.As before, instead of a list, it more closely resembles a set: the order is irrelevant and there are no duplicate elements; membership of this set of blogs satisfies all of the following conditions:they focus on computer science education research, policy and practice;they are of consistently high quality;I regularly read them.

via A set of top Computer Science Education blogs | Computing: The Science of Nearly Everything.

November 20, 2013 at 1:21 am 4 comments

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