Posts tagged ‘NSF’
I’ve talked about Kamau Bobb’s work in this blog previously, when he wrote a depressing but deeply-insightful op-ed about the state of mathematics education in Atlanta public schools. He’s recently been interviewed in a three part series in Black Enterprise about his role as an NSF program officer. The below quote is from Part II — I recommend the whole series.
The most significant challenge facing STEM education and the workforce is the capacity of the U.S. educational system to produce interested and qualified participants in the STEM enterprise. Here is where the racial and socio-economic challenges facing the nation are most glaring.
According to the National Center for Education Statistics National Report Card, there are some damning realities that significantly challenge STEM education and the STEM workforce. In 2015, only 33% of all eighth grade students in the U.S. were proficient or better in mathematics. Only 13% of black eighth graders and 19% of Hispanic eighth graders were proficient or better in mathematics, which is in contrast to 43% of white students and 61% of Asian students. For students who live in poverty and qualify for the National School Lunch Program, only 18% were proficient in eighth grade mathematics.
According to the College Board, only 16% of black students are college or career ready by the time they take the SAT in eleventh grade. For Hispanic students, 23% are ready. For Asian and white students, 61% and 53%, respectively, are ready for higher education or to take on meaningful work. This landscape is a problem.
Last month, NSF hosted a STEM Education video showcase. I was surprised at how much I enjoyed and learned from these. They’re only 3 minutes each, so it’s a brief investment in getting a sense of a project — and there are a lot of interesting projects here. Here are some of my notes on what I found that was cool:
- You can find the CS education videos here, but there’s a lot more relevant stuff beyond that category, like the videos on integrating STEM and CS.
- Jill Denner’s video on the Digital NEST changed my mind about the role of informal education in broadening participation in computing. I’ve worried that afterschool computer clubs and MakerSpaces are mostly for the privileged (as in this blog post). Jill’s video was a compelling picture Hispanic/Latino/a youth in technology education.
- Learning scientists are increasingly exploring the role of embodiment in learning. The project on integrating dance and CS was the first example that I’ve seen in how to do this in CS — exciting work!
- I was pleased to see Sarah Wille’s work on providing computing education to students with learning disabilities. It’s a really important area that we need for CS for All. I have worked with Sarah on BASICS and didn’t know about this project.
- Celine Latulipe had a video on her lightweight teams that she uses in a Media Computation class (yay!) which is a short version of her SIGCSE 2016 paper.
- Sara Dunton did a great job organizing the ECEP video.
There are a lot more great videos, but I’ll stop there. Highly recommended viewing!
Summarizing the Research on Designing Programming Languages to be Easier to Learn: NSF CS Ed Community Meeting
I’m at the NSF STEM+Computing and Broadening Participation in Computing Community Meeting. At our ECEP meeting on Saturday, we heard from White House Champion of Change Jane Margolis. She did a great job of getting our states to think about how to change their state plans to emphasize diversity and equity — more on that in a future blog post.
I moderated a panel yesterday on how to integrate computing education into schools of education. Here’s the description of the session — again, more later on this.
Integrating Computing Education into Preservice Teacher Development Programs
(Mark Guzdial (moderator), Leigh Ann DeLyser, Joanna Goode, Yasmin Kafai, Aman Yadav)For computing education to become ubiquitous and sustainable in US K-12 schools, we need schools of Education to teach computing.
- What should we be teaching to preservice teachers?
- Where should we teach CS methods in preservice teacherdevelopment?
- How do we help schools of Ed to hire and sustain faculty who focus on computing education?Panelists will talk about how CS Ed is being integrated into their preservice teacher development programs, and about alternative models for addressing these questions.
Yesterday, our other computing education research Champion of Change, Andreas Stefik presented a summary of the empirical evidence on how to design programming languages to make them easier to learn. Follow the link below to get to the two-page PDF pamphlet he produced for his presentation — it’s dense with information and fascinating.
This pamphlet is designed to provide an overview of recent evidence on human factors evidence in programming language design. In some cases, our intent is to dispel myths. In others, it is to provide the result of research lines.
Andy Bernat just told me about this job — I don’t know how I missed it earlier. This is exciting! NSF is going to hire a permanent full-time CS education Program Director. The deadline is October 20, so get applications in soon.
A DUE Program Director can have a lot of influence in the field. Andy was a rotating Program Director in DUE when he funded the Bootstrapping and Scaffolding projects which kicked off the rebirth of CS Ed in the United States, and led to the creation of the ICER conference.
This job opportunity announcement has been amended to extend the closing date to Tuesday, October 20, 2015.
The NSF is seeking qualified candidates for a permanent full-time Program Director position in the Division of Undergraduate Education (DUE), Directorate for Education and Human Resources (EHR), Arlington, VA. The ideal candidate will have expertise in computer science, computer science undergraduate education, and knowledge of computer science education research. While candidates in all areas of computer science are encouraged to apply, there is particular interest in seeking candidates with expertise in the application of computing in interdisciplinary settings and/or data-intensive research.
Source: USAJOBS – Search Jobs
The new NSF STEM-C solicitation is out: See http://www.nsf.gov/pubs/2015/nsf15537/nsf15537.htm.
The introduction to the new solicitation is visionary and speaks of the power of computing in STEM and for all students. Here’s just the first paragraph:
The STEM + Computing (STEM+C) Partnerships program seeks to advance a 21st century conceptualization of education in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) that includes computing. The “+ Computing” notation emphasizes that computing is integral to the practice of all the other STEM disciplines. In this solicitation, computing refers to the whole set of fundamental concepts and skills that will allow students to creatively apply and adapt computation across a range of application domains, to “bend digital technology to one’s needs, purposes, and will.”
The focus of this solicitation is primarily on integration of computing with other STEM education disciplines, and secondarily, on computing education in K-12 (including teachers). The prioritization is pretty clear from the budget limits:
The maximum total budget for Track 1: Integration of Computing in STEM Education awards is $2.5 million for Design and Development awards, $1.25 million for Exploratory Integration awards, and $250,000 for Field-Building Conferences and Workshops. The maximum total budget for Track 2: Computing Education Knowledge and Capacity Building awards is $600,000 for Research on Education and Broadening Participation awards and $1.0 million for CS 10K awards.
You can get up to $1.25M USD to explore integration of computing in STEM ($2.5M to design and develop), but at most $1M to put computing into schools and at most $600K to do research on computing education and broadening participation. We might argue about the ratios, but in the end, both tracks and all the types of proposals have enough funding to do important work that needs to happen.
I’ve known Valerie Barr for years and believe that she was honest with the agents. I don’t believe that she lied about her involvement with a domestic terrorist organization that had “ties” (whatever that means) to two political activist organizations she belonged to.
I’m most shocked about the process. Valerie was dismissed on the basis of a report by a possibly biased agent — there are no transcripts or notes from the interview. The OPM is prosecutor, judge, and jury — there is no defense. Doesn’t sound like due process to me. It’s a loss to our community that a well-regarded researcher is forced out of NSF.
It’s a greater loss in that it will make it less likely that another “typical liberal college professor” (a quote from the below article) might offer to serve.
After again being asked if she had been a member of any organization that espoused violence, Barr was grilled for 4.5 hours about her knowledge of all three organizations and several individuals with ties to them, including the persons who tried to rob the Brink’s truck. Four people were found guilty of murder in that attack and sentenced to lengthy prison terms, including Kathy Boudin, who was released in 2003 and is now an adjunct assistant professor of social work at Columbia University. “I found out about the Brink’s robbery by hearing it on the news, and just like everybody else I was shocked,” she recalls.
But OPM apparently thought otherwise, again citing her “deliberate misrepresentation” in its report. Relying heavily on that investigation, NSF handed Barr a letter on 25 July saying that it planned to terminate her IPA at the end of the first year because the OPM review had found her to be unfit for the job…Barr was given a chance to appeal NSF’s decision, and on 11 August she submitted a letter stating that OPM’s summary report of its investigation “contains many errors or mischaracterizations of my statements.” As is standard practice, agencies receive only a summary of the OPM investigation, not a full report, and lawyers familiar with the process say that an agent’s interview notes are typically destroyed after the report is written.
Nice job — I like the interviews with the students the best (though Jane rocks, of course).
In case the embedded video doesn’t work, click here: http://www.nsf.gov/news/special_reports/science_nation/intotheloop.jsp
Education research team successfully launches innovative computer science curriculum
Jane Margolis is an educator and researcher at UCLA, who has dedicated her career to democratizing computer science education and addressing under-representation in the field. Her work inspires students from diverse backgrounds to study computer science and to use their knowledge to help society. With support from the National Science Foundation (NSF), Margolis and her team investigated why so few girls and under-represented minorities are learning computer science. They developed “Exploring Computer Science,” or ECS, to reverse the trend.