The Cambridge University Press Handbook of Computing Education Research: Now Available

February 22, 2019 at 7:00 am 6 comments

After a long haul, it’s finally available. The snazzy promotion flyer is here (with discount code). You can order the book from the Publisher here. Or get it from Amazon here.

I was an author of one chapter (on computing in other disciplines) and co-author with Ben du Boulay on the history chapter. While the overall process was hard work, it was enormous fun to work with Ben. I’ve read his work for many years (he invented the concept of a notional machine), but we still haven’t met face-to-face. Ben knows all of this literature on the European side of CER that I’m not well versed in, and he’s a delight to work with. I learned a lot and so enjoyed the process.

The Cambridge Handbook of Computing Education Research

This Handbook describes the extent and shape of Computing Education
research today. Over fifty leading researchers from academia and industry
(including Google and Microsoft) have contributed chapters that together
define and expand the evidence base. The foundational chapters set the
field in context, articulate expertise from key disciplines, and form a
practical guide for new researchers. They address what can be learned
empirically, methodologically and theoretically from each area. The topic
chapters explore issues that are of current interest, why they matter, and
what is already known. They include discussion of motivational context,
implications for practice, and open questions which might suggest future
research. The authors provide an authoritative introduction to the field and
is essential reading for policy makers, as well as both new and established

Entry filed under: Uncategorized. Tags: .

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6 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Karen North  |  February 22, 2019 at 10:14 am

    This looks great, but kind of pricey for a retired computer science teacher. Would you have an action plan summary? Thanks.

    • 2. Mark Guzdial  |  February 22, 2019 at 11:28 am

      The book is aimed at informing new CS education researchers. There’s no action plan. Rather, each chapter identifies open research questions.

  • 3. Alan Fekete  |  February 22, 2019 at 4:00 pm

    For me (in Australia, at a particular moment in time) the book was cheaper from than via Amazon or if ordered from the publisher using the discount code in the flyer, once postage is considered. Your situation may vary, but it’s worth checking.
    Anyway, it’s great to see this sort of summary of the field available; I look forward to reading (bits of) it, though I don’t do educational research so much as educational practice (I read SIGCSE/ITICSE more than ICER).
    I am not so sure about the claim Mark quotes, that this handbook would be “essential reading for policy makers”. I’d much rather the policy makers talk to teachers-on-the-ground and students, to get anecdotes that about real pain-points, instead of chasing after “evidence-based” but usually very limited insights from CSEd research.

    • 4. Mark Guzdial  |  February 23, 2019 at 11:21 am

      As you note, Alan, that was a quote, not my words. But I’ll defend them.

      I didn’t read anything there that said, “And don’t talk to teachers.” It’s not really a problem to give policy makers more information, is it?

      In particular, a value I see of CS Ed research is describing opportunities that are not immediately realizable. I’ve been surprised in my discussions with education researchers, evaluators, teachers, and policy-makers how limited their understanding is of what might be possible. An evaluator I met at NSF was surprised when I told her that professional software developers don’t use Scratch. “So why do we teach that, then?” Just recently, I worked with an education researcher, who was surprised when I said that we could build block-based programming languages in which students could type mathematical equations in forms like what we see in mathematics and science textbooks. CS and CS education research creates new opportunities. I’d like policy makers to know that there are alternative paths, that we have evidence for some things, and that we have lots open questions.

  • […] history chapter for the new Cambridge University Press Handbook of Computing Education Research (mentioned here).  A common theme has been the search for the “best language” to learn programming.  […]

  • […] and AAPT in 1950. CSTA started in 2004. With Ben duBoulay, I wrote the history chapter for the new Handbook of Computing Education Research. The field only dates back to 1967. Because CS is so new, there are few mechanisms to track […]


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