Why academics should blog, especially in small fields

November 3, 2011 at 10:50 am 4 comments

It’s been a rough couple of weeks around here lately (e.g., we put the family dog down last week). So yesterday’s blog post from Amy Bruckman is particularly kind and appreciated — and I agree with her point! Amy is explaining why it’s important for academics to blog, and she uses me and this blog as her example.

She’s touching on a similar issue to Rich DeMillo’s in From Abelard to Apple.  (I was just interviewed last week by Amber Settle at DePaul University for their podcast series, and mentioned his book at least three times.  Between that and this blog, I should have bought stock!)  What is the value proposition for Universities today?  What is the role of the University anyway?  How do academics prove their worth to the greater society?  Blogging can be part of that answer.  As Amy says, part of why I do this blog is to explain why computing education is important and (a particular focus for me) to connect research results and public policy issues to  computing teachers. There aren’t that many researchers in computing education.  Blogging can help to keep a small field visible and can offer a value proposition for the academics in the field.

Thank you, Amy!

Computer science education is  more important to our society than social media.  I have three half sisters, and they have degrees in anthropology, theater, and international studies. And as of last week they are all working on web design, development, and marketing.  Why aren’t we educating people for the jobs that are actually available?  Why aren’t there more computer science teachers? CS isn’t even offered at most schools.  Raise your hand if you have a friend  with a humanities degree who is now working in web design or management of information systems.  We all do.  Our education system is broken. Every kid should learn to program at age 12 at the latest, and have a full offering of different kinds of CS classes through high school.  CS education is important. There should be a Mashable for CS Ed, but there isn’t.

This brings me back to the role of academic blogging. Academic bloggers like Mark play a really important role.  Whether they’re writing insightful essays or just short posts drawing attention to what’s happening in their field. Going forwards,  I believe blogging is a central part of what academics have to offer the world.  It’s about taking all our hard-earned knowledge and sharing it with broader circles than journal readers and conference attendees.  What could be more important than that?

via The Role of Academic Blogging « The Next Bison: Social Computing and Culture.

Entry filed under: Uncategorized. Tags: , , , .

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4 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Franklin Chen (@franklinchen)  |  November 3, 2011 at 11:13 am

    Mark, I am not in computing education, but I very much appreciate your spreading the word about the challenges of improving it. I came to your blog because of the talk you gave at CMU that I attended earlier this year http://calendar.cs.cmu.edu/scsEvents/demo/6685.html

    That talk really shook me up because I had no idea there were so many obstacles to really get CS taken seriously in the K-12 curriculum. I totally believe that programming should be a fundamental skill taught to children.

  • 2. Laura  |  November 3, 2011 at 7:30 pm

    I’m trying my best to do some blogging about K-12, charting my own experience as I get a CS program off the ground. I’ve made real strides. Your blog and a few others have pointed me to resources, given me ideas, and helped me feel like I’m not the only one who cares.

    I’m in the process now of working with a history teacher to do a game programming project in 9th grade–and his idea was essentially to kill two birds with one stone, to teach the programming skills equally alongside the content. I love it!

    Keep on blogging, and I hope more join you.

    • 3. Mark Guzdial  |  November 7, 2011 at 8:53 am

      Thanks, Laura and Franklin. Laura, please do tell us about your blog posts as you see them relevant, so we can watch your stories, too.

  • […] Why academics should blog, which seems completely obvious to […]


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