How Google is supporting computing education research

October 22, 2018 at 7:00 am Leave a comment

Google in August made five awards to support computing education research (see announcement here).  They are not huge awards, and they’re all fairly short time frames. But what I’m impressed with is how Google is doing their investment in computing education research.

Google started their process by asking Paulo Blikstein to poll the field and write a report summarizing the state of computing education research.  I blogged about that report here — I liked it.  I thought he covered a lot of ground in a small space, and he pointed out important open research questions.

Google wanted to hear from researchers directly. So they held a workshop with a bunch of researchers (some involved in Paulo’s report, some outsiders) to talk to them about what were the pressing research issues we saw and what we’d recommend Google should do about them.  (I was there, and mentioned the workshop in passing in this blog post.) So, first they educated themselves (and the community) with Paulo’s report, then they brought in more voices to respond to the report and point out other issues.

Now they’ve made their awards. The process is interesting because they engaged the community, at multiple levels. They didn’t just hire the people away from their campuses to come to Google. They made external awards, so that the faculty keep teaching (which we desperately need with the exploding enrollments). I hope other companies make note of the process and consider it as a model.

 

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