Posts tagged ‘CE21’

NSF I-Corps Offers Funds to Scale and Sustain Learning Inventions

Quite cool that this is available for education projects, too:

NSF’s Innovation Corps Teams Program (I-Corps Teams: NSF 12-602) has created a new opportunity, called I-Corps for Learning Teams (I-Corps L). I-Corps L supports taking discoveries and promising practices from education research and development and promoting opportunities for widespread adoption, adaptation, and utilization.

I-Corps L teams will receive support – in the form of mentoring and funding – to accelerate innovation in learning that can be successfully scaled, in a sustainable manner. There are a number of analogous elements between trying to bring product discoveries to market and getting learning innovations into broad practice. Getting the best evidence-based practices out to potential adopters, where those practices can benefit large numbers of students or learners, rather than just in a few classrooms or informal learning organizations, requires an entrepreneurial approach. I-Corps L can benefit education researchers by helping them to identify approaches that are effective in STEM teaching and learning.

To be eligible to pursue funding through I-Corps L, applicants must have been associated with a prior award from NSF (in a STEM education field relevant to the proposed innovation) that is currently active or that has been active within five years from the date of the proposal submission. The lineage of the prior award extends to the PI, Co-PIs, Senior Personnel, Post-doctoral Researchers, Professional Staff or others who were supported under the award.

To be considered for NSF’s I-Corps L Teams program, Executive Summaries (see below) must be submitted by September 30, 2014 to be considered for participation in the January 2015 cohort. Funding for each I-Corps L Team is $50,000 per award, for up to six months.

August 31, 2014 at 11:13 am Leave a comment

NSF funding for junior faculty in first two years

Computing education (CE21) researchers are explicitly encouraged in this solicitation.  It’s a nice idea to try to deal with the low success rates of NSF proposals these days.

With the goal of encouraging research independence immediately upon obtaining one’s first academic position after receipt of the PhD, the Directorate for Computer and Information Science and Engineering (CISE) will award grants to initiate the course of one’s independent research. Understanding the critical role of establishing that independence early in one’s career, it is expected that funds will be used to support untenured faculty or research scientists (or equivalent) in their first two years in an academic position after the PhD. One may not yet have received any other grants in the Principal Investigator (PI) role from any institution or agency, including from the CAREER program or any other award post-PhD. Serving as co-PI, Senior Personnel, Post-doctoral Fellow, or other Fellow does not count against this eligibility rule. It is expected that these funds will allow the new CISE Research Initiation Initiative PI to support one or more graduate students for up to two years.

via Computer and Information Science and Engineering (CISE) Research Initiation Initiative (CRII) (nsf14562).

May 17, 2014 at 9:04 am 6 comments

NSF CAREER awards include a CS Ed Research track

For the first time ever, CS Education research is a field eligible for NSF CAREER. Applicants will be able to select STEM-CP: CE21 as the program for the July deadline. Please help getting the word out to potential applicants. We’d like to see some good proposals in this first year inviting CE21 CAREER proposals.


The National Science Foundation’s Computer and Information Science and Engineering Directorate (CISE) invites proposals this year to the Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) program for faculty engaging in Computing Education research. That is, if you apply for the CAREER program, you’ll be able to select “STEM-CP: CE21” as your Unit of Consideration. The intent of the CAREER program ( is to provide stable support at a sufficient level and duration to enable awardees to develop careers as outstanding researchers and educators who effectively integrate teaching, learning and discovery.

CISE is organizing a one-day proposal writing workshop (registration and details at: for CAREER-eligible faculty on March 31, 2014 in Arlington, VA. The registration deadline is February 28th. Unlike past years, this will be the only CISE CAREER workshop during this calendar year. Please circulate this information among interested faculty. The next deadline for CISE CAREER proposals is July 21, 2014.

Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns.



Jeffrey R.N. Forbes
Program Director
CISE/CNS Education and Workforce Cluster
National Science Foundation, +1 (919) 292-4291

February 20, 2014 at 3:41 pm Leave a comment

NSF STEM-C Partnerships Program Solicitation Released: New form of CE21

Just posted by Jeff Forbes to the SIGCSE-Members list.

NSF has released a new solicitation relevant to CS education.

STEM-C Partnerships: Computing Education for the 21st Century (14-523)

The STEM-C Partnerships combines and advances the efforts of both the former Math and Science Partnership (MSP) and Computing Education for the 21st Century (CE21) programs. STEM-CP: CE21 modifies the earlier CE21 program by:

– Merging the previous Broadening Participation (BP) and Computing Education Research (CER) tracks into a single Broadening Participation and Education in Computing (BPEC) track focused on building an evidence base for student learning of computing fundamentals applicable to the elementary, middle, or high school levels;
– Requiring a Broadening Participation component for all proposals on the CS 10K track; and
– Adding a third track, STEM-C Partnerships Computer Science Education Expansion, that aims to expand the work of previously funded NSF MSP Partnerships to increase the number of qualified computer science teachers and the number of high schools with rigorous computer science courses.

Please review the solicitation for the requirements and goals of the three tracks.

The next deadline for proposals is March 18, 2014.

December 19, 2013 at 10:08 pm 5 comments

Congressional Panels Dump on STEM Reshuffling Plan

Will TUES exist again?  Will STEM-C get created?  Looks like it’s all up in the air now.

A bill approved yesterday by the House of Representatives science committee to reauthorize NASA programs, for example, rejects the two key elements of what the administration has proposed—stripping the agency of most of its STEM education agencies and putting the rest under one roof. “The administration may not implement any proposed STEM education and outreach-related changes proposed [for NASA] in the president’s 2014 budget request,” the bill flatly declares. “Funds devoted to education and public outreach should be maintained in the [science, aeronautics, exploration, and mission] directorates, and the consolidation of those activities within the Education Directorate is prohibited.”

Likewise, the House version of the CJS spending bill would restore money for STEM education activities at NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and put the kibosh on a realignment of undergraduate STEM education programs at NSF. “The committee supports the concept of improving efficiency and effectiveness, through streamlining and better coordination, but does not believe that this particular restructuring proposal achieves that goal,” the legislators explain in a report this week accompanying the spending bill. The report also notes that “the ideas presented in the budget request lack any substantive implementation plan and have little support within the STEM education community.”

via Congressional Panels Dump on STEM Reshuffling Plan – ScienceInsider.

More from the Senate report on the STEM Consolidation:

“While the Committee maintains its support of greater efficiencies and consolidation – as evident by adopting some of the STEM consolidation recommendations made by the administration’s budget request – the Committee has concerns that the proposal as a whole has not been thoroughly vetted with the education community or congressional authorizing committees, and lacks thorough guidance and input from Federal agencies affected by this proposal, from both those that stand to lose education and outreach programs and from those that stand to gain them. The administration has yet to provide a viable plan ensuring that the new lead STEM institutions – the National Science Foundation, the Department of Education, and the Smithsonian Institution – can support the unique fellowship, training, and outreach programs now managed by other agencies. Conversely, what is proposed as a consolidation of existing STEM programs from NOAA, NASA, and NIST into the new lead STEM agencies is really the elimination of many proven and successful programs with no evaluation on why they were deemed duplicative or ineffective.

via FY 2014 Senate Appropriations: STEM Consolidation and Public Access.

The STEM-C program was recommended by one committee, but not CAUSE (the program created instead of TUES). Said the House report, “Consistent with the Committee’s position on the proposed STEM education restructuring, the recommendation does not support the establishment of the new CAUSE program or the transition of the GRF program into the interagency National GRF.”

July 26, 2013 at 1:57 am Leave a comment

CS:Principles is officially going to be AP

Congratulations to Owen Astrachan and Amy Briggs for achieving the goal of CS:Principles being declared “AP.”  This is going to be important for attracting teachers to take CS:Principles professional development.

To help ensure that more high school students are prepared to pursue postsecondary education in computer science, the National Science Foundation (NSF) is making a four-year, $5.2 million grant to the College Board’s Advanced Placement Program® (AP®) to fund the creation of AP Computer Science Principles (AP CSP).

via The National Science Foundation Provides $5.2 Million Grant to Create New Advanced Placement® Computer Science Course and Exam.

June 18, 2013 at 1:19 am 1 comment

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

Heading to UMBC for Computing Education Summit

On May 17, I am going to be attending a summit for computing education in Maryland at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC).  Rick Adrion and I are going to talk about the efforts in Massachusetts and Georgia, and elsewhere through ECEP.  I’m looking forward to it (but observant readers will note that I’m traveling to Maryland the day after returning from Denmark!).

On Friday, May 17, 2013, CE21-Maryland will host a Summit for Computing Education at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) campus in Catonsville, Maryland. We invite teachers, administrators, legislators, industry leaders, and others who have an interest in expanding computer science in high school or middle school to attend. Space is limited to 150 people.

At this summit, the attendees will:

  1. Learn more about computer science high school education across the state of Maryland.

  2. Network with others with an interest in computer science education.

  3. Exchange strategies with other education professionals.

  4. Plan with others to help expand student interest and to increase the number and diversity of students studying computer science in Maryland.

May 10, 2013 at 1:42 am 2 comments

Heading to Denmark May 10-16

I’ll be traveling to Denmark with Barbara Ericson on May 10 to attend a conference at Aarhus University on their new computer science curriculum.  Michael Caspersen invited us out.  Simon Peyton-Jones of the Computing At Schools effort in the United Kingdom will be speaking as well.  I’m copy-pasting the program (translated from Danish) to give you a sense of what it’s all about. It’s an exciting opportunity, and I’m looking forward to learning more about the efforts to move computing into primary and secondary education in Denmark and the UK.

The purpose of the conference is to establish support for our efforts by raising political awareness at all levels of decision making in our society related to teaching computing in school (parliament, regional and city councils, high school principals, high school teachers, deans, chairs and professors in computing departments, IT organizations, journalists, etc.).

09.30 Registration and coffee

– exhibition of student projects opens

10.00 Welcome

– Peter Hesseldahl (moderator)

10.15 Digital literacy: creative and critical innovation — three perspectives

– Michael: Insight and vision through computing

– Jacob (high school teacher): Computing — a creative, critical and constructive subject

– Susanne: Why does society need digital literacy?

11.15 Break

11.45 Digital literacy in an international perspective

– Mark: Why everyone will need digital literacy in their life

– Simon: Digital literady: Why every child should learn computing from primary school onwards

12.15 Lunch

13.15 Panel: On the importance of digital literacy for high school students

– Christine Antorini, Minister of Children and Education

– Morten Østergaard, Minister of Science, Innovation and Higher Education

– Morten Bangsgaard, CEO, The Danish IT Industry Association (ITB)

– Anne Frausing, Principal and representative for the High School Principal’s Association

– Gitte Møldrup, Managing Director, IT-VEST — Networking Universities

14.30 Break

15.00 Simon: Computing at School: How the UK is radically reshaping its curriculum for the 21st century

15.25 Mark: CS10K: Providing access to computing education across the US

15.50 Wrap-up

16.00 End of plenary session

16.30 Exhibition of student projects ends

May 6, 2013 at 1:22 am Leave a comment

NSF TUES is Cancelled: Where will CS Ed funding come from?

The report on the requested NSF budget for 2014 has a pretty dramatic list of programs that have been cancelled as part of the administration’s desire to  reorganize and “consolidate” federal STEM education programs.

CAUSE is an NSF-wide investment that incorporates funding from established programs in the EHR directorate and other NSF directorates funded though the Research and Related Activities (R&RA) account. It is created by consolidating three Division of Undergraduate Education (DUE) programs: STEM Talent Expansion Program (STEP), Widening Implementation and Demonstration of Evidence- based Reforms (WIDER), and Transforming Undergraduate Education in STEM (TUES); several R&RA programs: BIO’s Transforming Undergraduate Biology Education (TUBE); ENG’s Research in Engineering Education and Nanotechnology Undergraduate Education (NUE); GEO’s Geosciences Education and Opportunities for Enhancing Diversity in the Geosciences (OEDG); and the cross-NSF program, Climate Change Education (CCE).

TUES used to be the Course, Curriculum, and Laboratory Improvement (CCLI) program.  TUES and CCLI have funded most of the federally-funded efforts presented at SIGCSE. Earlier, CE21 was cancelled, and its replacement isn’t announced.

An article in the latest Science magazine describes the new programs (and how surprised everyone in the STEM education community has been).  K-12 belongs in the Department of Education (what does this mean for CS10K?), undergrad and grad in NSF, and informal ed in the Smithsonian (the Smithsonian?!?).

As far as I can tell, the NSF budget document is the only reference to the new NSF CAUSE (Catalyzing Advances in Undergraduate STEM Education).  There is no solicitation, and no date for submitting proposals.  Bottomline: the programs that have funded most of CS curriculum support are now gone, and the replacements do not yet exist.   I hope that this all works out well, but it’s a little scary right now.

April 24, 2013 at 1:04 am 5 comments

Disappointing: NSF CE21 is Gone

From Farnham Jahanian’s email to the CISE-Announce list on the new NSF budget request from the President:

CISE continues its focus on STEM-C Partnerships (formerly, the Computing Education for the 21st Century (CE21) program) in order to increase the pool of students and teachers who develop and practice computational and data competencies in a variety of contexts and to prepare more students to pursue degrees in computing, computation, and data-intensive fields of study.

It might be that STEM-C will fund everything that CE21 funded (can’t find an announcement yet to see), but the departure of a program explicitly named “Computing Education” is a loss for those of us who are trying to grow the field of Computing Education Research.  If it’s not named, it’s easier to ignore.


April 15, 2013 at 1:23 am 4 comments

How students use an electronic book

Our technical report on evaluation of Luther College students’ use of the first generation Runestone Interactive Python ebook is finally available: This was a paper that we wrote for ICER 2012 but was rejected. The reviewers’ general argument is that we’re just describing one class using an ebook: No comparisons to other uses of books or ebooks, no particular hypothesis being tested. That is a fair criticism, but the problem is that we don’t know of a comparable study. We don’t know of anyone who has studied how CS students use their normal textbooks and IDE’s, for example, so that we can contrast it with the ebook use.

Here’s an example of one of our findings, which we found surprising. You might recall that the Runestone Interactive ebook has three special kinds of features: Embedded videos, “ActiveCode” segments (where students can actually program in Python from within the pages of the book), and “CodeLens” interactive visualizations of code, which can be run forward or backward. Below is a histogram of the number of ActiveCode events on each day of the first five weeks of class. The red bar is the day of the midterm. Blue bars are days when students had class (and most use on that day was in class), and gray bars are use out-of-class.

So here’s the first surprise: Use in-class swamps use out-of-class. The Luther college students are using the book in-class, and are working on programming activities (directed by the teacher) in-class. Those of us at Georgia Tech expected students to be programming far more out-of-class, maybe two or three times as much as in-class. Not so here. Is that unusual behavior only found at Luther? We don’t know yet.

Here’s the second surprise: Notice that the use on the day before the midterm is not one of the larger spikes. If you had an ebook to help you learn CS, with lots of examples that you could poke with, wouldn’t you study by using those? We are not seeing much of that, and students reported studying by “reading” it — few of them mentioned exploring code.

We at Georgia Tech built quizzes for each of the first five chapters of the book, completely separate from Brad Miller and David Ranum, the teachers at Luther. We also got the students’ midterm scores. So of those three features, which one most closely correlated with better performance outcomes on the quiz and midterms? The visualization tool. Here’s a scatterplot of the midterm score and use of the CodeLens by student.


Now, what did the students think was most valuable for their learning? Lectures, by quite a bit. We asked them to rank the various learning affordances in the class, and to score each in value from 1 to 5 (lower scores are better).


There are surprises here, too. Videos are not a big win here. Students do value being able to run code in the ebook (and told us about how much they liked that in our surveys), but don’t value it as much for their learning as lecture. Students don’t rank CodeLens very highly at all, but it was the feature that had the greatest measurable effect.

We have a whole bunch more data now: From several classes, and from a group of high school teachers that we can compare to the undergraduates. Christine Alvarado has ended her sabbatical at Georgia Tech, but is still working with us on this analysis. Brad Miller is still graciously allowing us to pester him with questions, and is giving us log data in identity-scrubbed form so that we can dig into it without compromising student identities. I hope that we can produce another paper for a peer-review forum, this time, with comparisons across multiple data sets so that we can start to figure out what is normal or typical use of a CS ebook.



November 8, 2012 at 7:34 am 12 comments

Teaching CS to everyone in Chicago: Baker Franke

Baker Franke writes about their CE21-funded effort to put Exploring Computer Science into the Chicago public schools through Career and Technical Education, as a way of reaching “computer science for all.”

What we saw were teachers in rooms with students and computers in a required course that wasn’t really doing that much for the students or the teachers. Through our advocacy work we were able to convince the director of the CTE program in Chicago to change this required course (common to all the CTE programs) into a “real” computer science course. And that’s how it started. We chose to teach the Exploring Computer Science curriculum because of it’s fantastic professional development model and I would describe the early results as transformative. Most of the teachers love teaching the class and now feel like they’re making a difference in their students’ lives rather than treading water in a classic “applications” course.

Are they “real” computer science teachers? Yes. But they’re different than the computer science teachers that we in the CS community are used to and that’s something we have to get used to but also what’s so great. These teachers are going to be able to reach students of all races, genders, creeds, and socio-economic status for the precise reason that they’re nothing like, well, me. I’m seeing it happen before my eyes and it’s amazing. The potential impact of this project is huge. In a few years time, we will have hundreds of computer science teachers teaching a required CS course in Chicago Public Schools.

via Computer Science Teachers Association: Thinking Big About Computer Science Education.

March 14, 2012 at 6:18 am Leave a comment

Helping Everyone Create with Computing: Video of C5 Talk

A YouTube video of my talk (with Alan’s introduction) at C5 is now available.

February 15, 2012 at 10:33 am 2 comments

Computer scientists need to understand education research methods for CE21

At the CE21 meeting earlier this month, I got asked a similar question more than once.  “I have got this great class on X for high school teachers.  I want to ‘evaluate it’.  Um…how many teachers do I need?”  I’m pretty sure I really heard the quote marks around “evaluate it,” because I’m pretty sure that the question-asker really had little idea what that meant.

I used this story as an example in my educational technology class last week.  It’s worth exploring why that’s not answerable as-is.  “How many teachers do I need?” depends on the research question that you’re trying to answer.  There are lots of questions one might ask about a “great class for high school teachers.”  Which one are you trying to explore?

  • Maybe you think you’ve solved a particular problem that high school teachers face in learning computer science, like struggling with data structures or fitting the course material into their daily lives.  I’m particularly interested in that latter problem.  To answer that question, you need to talk to the teachers, to get an understanding of whether the teachers faced the problem and if your class helped them get past it.  You’re not going to interview 20 people and do something useful with your data (interview transcripts).  At least 3-5 people, probably no more than 10-12 participants would let you answer your question.
  • Maybe you think that your class in X is better than other classes in X.  Then, you need to do a comparison study.  My rudimentary knowledge of statistics suggests that you need 40-50 teachers with about half taking each course so that you can compare them on some learning or performance measure.
  • Maybe you think that your class can scale dramatically well, that you really have a solution to the CS10K challenge — your class can educate thousands of teachers in the next four years.  That’s great, but to be convincing, you’re going to show that you can run your class at scale (maybe 100 teachers at once would be convincing) and that you still achieve learning outcomes (against some reasonable measure of learning, like Allison’s test or the outcome measures being developed for CS:Principles).  You don’t need to do a comparison to something else if you’re trying to demonstrate scale, and you certainly aren’t going to interview all those participants.

There are other possible research questions, with other appropriate evaluation mechanisms.  Do you think that your intervention is going to result in systemic change?  Then you need a longitudinal study.  Do you think that you have a class that will draw more teachers into CS teaching?  Then your real target audience is outside your classroom, and you need to do an evaluation that extends outside your classroom.

The greatest challenge facing the CE21 community is that the community is filled with computer scientists. Computer science too rarely asks questions involving human beings, so we have too little practice defining the right kinds of methods. The CE21 meeting had a few education researchers, who they seemed not too comfortable with computer science — and there was way too little collaboration between the two groups.  If we want to do education research that means something, we need to learn how to to ask research questions that involve humans and to figure out the right methods.


February 13, 2012 at 10:01 am 7 comments

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