CS Leadership Session on CS Education in K-12 at the National Scale
The Snowbird conference is the every-other-year meeting of deans and department chairs in computing, to talk about how to support computing research and education. There was a panel this last summer on the state of CS education in K-12.
This panel discusses the role that U.S. research departments must play in sustaining CS in K-12. The panelists will address issues of educational reform, while highlighting the role that academia has played in other disciplines; illustrate the breadth of existing efforts from the perspective of a university-led project; and consider how departments could contribute to building the needed research base for CS education.Chair: Jan Cuny NSF. Speaker: Jeanne Century CEMSE, University of Chicago, Dan Garcia University of California at Berkeley, Susanne Hambrusch Purdue University
The slides are available here. I particularly liked Susanne Hambrusch’s slides on the role of computing education research in the University. The slide below (copied from her deck) addresses a particularly critical point — computing education research has to be seen as a real research area, not just what some education-focused faculty do.
This tension between computing education research being research versus supporting the education mission of the University comes up often for me. I was recently asked, “How does your work with high school teachers improve the education of CS undergraduates at our school?” I replied, “It probably doesn’t. This is my research. I’ll bet that researchers in your medical school study cancers that your undergraduates don’t have.” Susanne is pointing out that we have to get past this confusion. Yes, Universities teach. But Universities also study and explore questions of interest. If those questions of interest involve education, it should not be immediately confounded with the teaching that Universities do.