Archive for May 22, 2013

What I Learned from Computing in Schools Efforts

I just did a Blog@CACM post on my experiences at three meetings over the last two weeks, learning about efforts to get computing into primary and secondary schools in two countries (Denmark and England) and in two US states (South Carolina and Maryland).

Here are those four big lessons (with more detail in the post):

  • It’s easier to have something in place and then improve it, than to convince others that computing should be squeezed in.  
  • Industry voices matter.
  • Public policy support goes a long way.
  • Economics isn’t the only argument.

 

May 22, 2013 at 1:12 am 4 comments

Visit from Farnam Jahanian, AD for CISE at NSF

Farnam Jahanian visited Georgia Tech last month.  Farnam is the Assistant Director at the US National Science Foundation, in charge of all computing related funding (CISE Division).  He spoke to issues about computing education funding, and I got to ask some of my questions, too.

He said that the Office of Management and Budget has really been driving the effort to consolidate STEM education funding programs.  OMB was unhappy that Biology, Engineering, and CISE all had their own STEM education programs.  However, CISE got to keep their education research program (as the new STEM-C program) because it was already a collaboration with the education division in NSF (EHR).  All the rest (including TUES) is being collapsed into the new EHR programs.

In his talk, he made an explicit argument which I’ve heard Jan Cuny make, but hadn’t heard an NSF AD make previously:

  1. We have a dramatic underproduction of computing degrees, around 40K per year.
  2. We have a dramatic under-representation of certain demographic groups (e.g., women, African-Americans, Hispanics), and we can’t solve #1 without solving that under-representation.  He says that the basic arithmetic won’t work.  We can’t get enough graduates unless we broaden participation in computing.
  3. We have a lack of presence in primary and secondary school in the United States (K-12).  He claims that we can’t solve #2 without fixing #3.  We have to have a presence so that women and under-represented minority groups will discover computing and pursue degrees (and careers) in it.

May 22, 2013 at 1:05 am 4 comments


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