Scale or Fail: Making national CS education work in Switzerland

May 14, 2018 at 7:00 am 1 comment

Alex Repenning has the CACM Viewpoints Education column this month where he sets out a bold challenge — scale CS education to a national scale, or fail at making CS education work for all.

K–12 computer science Education (CSed) is an international challenge with different countries engaging in diverse strategies to reach systemic impact by broadening participation among students, teachers and the general population. For instance, the CS4All initiative in the U.S. and the Computing at School movement in the U.K. have scaled up CSed remarkably. While large successes with these kinds of initiatives have resulted in significant impact, it remains unclear how early impact becomes truly systemic. The main challenge preventing K–12 CSed to advance from teachers who are technology enthusiasts to pragmatists is perhaps best characterized by Crossing the Chasm, a notion anchored in the diffusion of innovation literature. This chasm appears to exist for CSed. It suggests it is difficult to move beyond early adopters of a new idea, such as K–12 CSed, to the early majority. Switzerland, a highly affluent, but in terms of K–12 CSed somewhat conservative country, is radically shifting its strategy to cross this chasm by introducing mandatory pre-service teacher computer science education starting at the elementary school level.

Three fundamental CSed stages are characterized by permutations of self-selected/all and students/teachers combinations. It took approximately 20 years to transition through these stages. Each stage is described here from a more general CSed perspective as well as my personal perspective.

Source: Scale or Fail

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1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. alanone1  |  May 14, 2018 at 7:26 am

    There’s scaling and there’s *scaling*. (The population of Switzerland is a bit less than each of New York, Los Angeles, London, etc.)

    It seems that this will illuminate only a little if it succeeds given small size, and pretty uniform “decide and do” culture. It would be surprising — and illuminating — if they can’t make it work.

    Reply

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