The Digital Divide” Broadening Engagement” Should Include Computer Science Education


In your learning community, it is a part of the curriculum?

What do you know about computer science education? I have been involved in trying to bring it to K-12 for many years. I believe that the attention to this cause has mushroomed but not to the point where we as parents, as educators, as a community understand the importance of this subject.

I have been lucky enough to be involved in education for computer science at the supercomputing conference. Here is what I wrote in the Educational Technology Journal.

http://etcjournal.com/2011/11/28/supercomputing-the-singularity-and-21st-century-teachers/

What is computer science education?

Overhauling Computer Science Education

It depends on who is discussing it. I think that this is a great way to share ways to think about making transformational change in education.

December 15th, 2011

Hello there Facebook friend! If you like this article, please help spread the word bysharing this post with your friends. Sylvia asks and so here it is. But wait. There is more.

We know that the children using devices will learn and think in different ways.

“Students from elementary school through college are learning on laptops and have access to smartphone apps for virtually everything imaginable, but they are not learning the basic computer-related technology that makes all those gadgets work. Some organizations are partnering with universities to change that.”

THE Journal has run an important article about the efforts to overhaul Computer Science education in the U.S. (Overhauling Computer Science Education – Nov/Dec 2011.)

It’s long been a mystery to me that computer science isn’t being taught in U.S. schools. No, not computer literacy, which is also important, but often stops at the “how to use application x, y, or z” level. Why are we not teaching students how to program, master, and manage the most powerful aspects of the most important invention of the 20th and 21st century?

I believe there are two reasons, both based in fear.

1. Fear that adding a new “science” will take time away from “real” math and science. In my opinion, the US K-12 math and science curriculum has been frozen in time. It’s not relevant or real anymore, and needs a vast overhaul. But there are lots of forces at work to keep the status quo definitions of what kids are taught. And I do mean to draw a distinction between what students are taught and what they learn. For too many young people, what they learn is that math is boring, difficult, and not relevant, and science is about memorizing arcane terms. This is just a shame and waste.

2. Fear that computer science is too hard to teach in K-12. People worry that teachers are already stressed and stretched, that there aren’t enough computer science teachers, and that computer science is just something best left to colleges. That’s just a cop out. There are lots of teachers who learn to teach all kinds of difficult subjects – no one is born ready to teach chemistry or how to play the oboe, but people learn to do it all the time. Plus, there are computer languages and development tools for all ages, and lots of support on the web for people to try them out.

Please read this article – it covers a wide range of options and ideas for adding this very important subject to the lives of young people who deserve a relevant, modern education! Overhauling Computer Science Education

Sylvia

I would like to add my  2 cents worth.. We as teachers need, and some of us have had excellent support but we have often had to go to the professional development on our own. Since we as teachers do not make the decisions about curriculum, I believe that school boards, and community need to learn why we must broaden engagement.

SHODOR.org and their programs.

There are excellent resources available . Dr Robert Panoff has dedicated more than a decade in sharing resources. Shodor is a national resource for computational science education.

Our mission: to improve math and science education through the effective use of modeling and simulation technologies — “computational science.”

Shodor, a national resource for computational science education, is located in Durham, N.C., and serves students and educators nationwide. Our online education tools such as Interactivate and the Computational Science Education Reference Desk (CSERD), a Pathway Portal of the National Science Digital Library (NSDL), help transform learning through computational thinking.

In addition to developing and deploying interactive models, simulations, and educational tools, Shodor serves students and educators directly through workshops and other hands-on experiences. Shodor offers innovative workshops helping faculty and teachers incorporate computational science into their own curricula or programs. This work is done primarily through the National Computational Science Institute (NCSI) in partnership with , NCSA, and other NSF-funded initiatives.

A mentor works with students in the Shodor Scholars Program

For students from middle school through undergraduate levels of education, Shodor offers workshops, apprenticeships, internships and off-site programs that explore new approaches to math and science education through computational science.

Time and time again, Shodor has been recognized as a national leader and a premier resource in the effective use of computers to improve both math and science education.

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One thought on “The Digital Divide” Broadening Engagement” Should Include Computer Science Education

  1. Alexander Repenning says:
    December 21, 2011 at 2:58 pm
    A quick reaction to your statement “It’s long been a mystery to me that computer science isn’t being taught in U.S. schools.”

    We ARE teaching CS in U.S. Schools. Our Scalable Game Design project has explored how to bring CS education to middle schools in inner city, remote rural and Native American communities in the USA. The results are overwhelmingly positive with an average of nearly 50% girls participating. Have a look at our results. It can be done. We even have early indicators of evidence of transfer between game design and simulation building activities. Here is a video showing some of the teacher training:

    http://www.9news.com/news/local/article/202987/222/Teachers-play-video-games-for-science-

    Dr. Repenning replied to this in an email

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