Computer Science across the Curriculum – How do we get there?

November 30, 2011 at 10:23 am 6 comments

I strongly agree with Alfred Thompson — we do need to think about how to get computer science (as a powerful literacy for thinking and expression) integrated into the curriculum, in the ways that make sense.  How do we get there?  Seeing cross-curricular influences in contest entries is an interesting way of getting started on that path.  If the cross-curricular projects get extra points or even awards, then there is incentive for others to follow.  That doesn’t change curriculum yet, but it does get teachers and students creating exemplars and thinking about how to do further integration.

I would argue that involving computer science in multi-disciplinary projects helps to move computer science more into the core of the educational process. It helps show the value to administrators as much as it does to students and parents. He helps create a better more rounded learning experience. It helps to in effect justify the existence of CS in the core to those people who for some reason don’t already buy into the idea.So while I truly would like to see more serious, focused computer science or computer programming projects at next year’s Global Forum it will be in Athens Greece BTW I am pretty happy to see cross disciplinary projects that include some computer science, a little Kinect programming, perhaps some Windows Phone development or SharePoint integration along with math, science, history, social studies, current events, environmental awareness or what ever else teachers are looking for innovative ways to teach.

via Computer Science As Cross Curricula – Computer Science Teacher – Thoughts and Information from Alfred Thompson – Site Home – MSDN Blogs.

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6 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Baker Franke  |  November 30, 2011 at 10:35 am

    Amber Settle’s model for “Computational Thinking Across the Curriculum” is the answer I think.

    Her model for having computer scientists work with instructors in other disciplines works, I think, because it slow plays the technology. She asks teachers of other disciplines to explore the possibilities of computational approaches to problems or even just to exploration of ideas. It need not even employ technology at all. Of course, if it’s a computational approach to say, reading Russian History, and the professor likes it, s/he might be much more willing to add some technology, dare I say programming, later.

  • 2. Greg Wilson  |  November 30, 2011 at 10:47 am

    I’m obviously in favor of the idea, but looking around, educators have been trying to get communication skills integrated across the curriculum for at least 50 years with little or no success that I can see. There have been similar (and similarly unsuccessful) efforts around logical thinking, statistical reasoning, etc. Perhaps if we can identify why they stumbled, we can improve our chances of success. (My first guess is that the “…and also…” item in each lecture is what gets cut first, but that’s just a guess.)

    • 3. Mark Guzdial  |  November 30, 2011 at 11:12 am

      Completely agreed, Greg — that’s why I think Alfred pointing to contest entries is interesting. Do the best science reports in science fair get extra points for good communication skills? Behavioral economics suggest that you get the behavior that you reward. How do we reward computing integrated into the curriculum? Maybe contests are one way to do that.

      • 4. gasstationwithoutpumps  |  December 2, 2011 at 11:35 am

        Having been a science fair judge at the county level for over a decade and at the state level for a couple of years, I can confidently state that science fair judges never have the time to read the written reports. Average time to judge is about 5 minutes per student, maybe 10 for diligent judges who show up the night before to read the posters. Communication skills are definitely judged, but more on the verbal skills (and to some extent poster-design skills) than the written skills. It’s a shame really, but the hard work that goes into science-fair reports goes almost no where. At the very least, the reports of the science fair winners should be published on the web.

  • […] is already packed!” That’s a zero-sum game. But if instead, the question is, “What can we teach better or differently with the tool?” then we’re about increasing and improving learning, not pushing something out. […]

  • […] computer science classes any more.  We want students to learn computer science, and we want that computing integrated into other learning — a form of literacy.  Logo is a powerful, Lisp-like language that was explicitly designed […]


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