Archive for February 9, 2012

Biggest challenge for CS10K: Recruiting the teachers

At the NSF CE21 meeting last week, I got a chance to catch up with Aman Yadav, who teaches Purdue’s computer science methods course — a course on how to teach computer science specifically (as opposed to general teaching methods that one would use with reading, history, science, or mathematics). He teaches what is, best as I can tell, the only regularly offered CS methods course in the country. These are necessary courses to be able to establish teacher certification programs. I met him at last year’s meeting, at which time I learned that he had all of one student. This year? One more student.

Columbus State University hosts the only high school CS teacher certification program in Georgia, for an “endorsement” in CS. An endorsement is a credential on top of an existing certification — nobody can be certified as a CS teacher in Georgia, but you can get an “endorsement” on top of a business or science or math certificate. Columbus had to have a CS methods course to meet the requirements of an endorsement in Georgia. So last summer, Wayne Summers co-taught the course with a methods instructor from their Education school. Total enrollment? One student.

CS10K: If we built it, would they come?

I know that there’s an argument that we can’t ramp up teacher production fast enough, so we should give up and develop technology to replace the teacher. However, the reality is that we don’t know how yet. We don’t know how to teach CS well enough at the high school level via technology. It’s an open, important, and interesting research question. So is how to teach high school teachers about computer science at scale, including making the learning engaging and drawing teachers in. Yes, we know a lot about adult education, but it’s in no way an answered question. We can do it better, and that’s the research question in which I’m more interested.

February 9, 2012 at 10:17 am 29 comments


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