Tuesday, April 11, 2017

NSF Sponsored Workshop: Computer Science and Schools of Education

I was honored to be invited to a wonderful NSF sponsored workshop-confernece in New York City on April 8th and 9th. The workshop was centered on bringing computer science into Colleges of Education around the country. In total there were about 30 attendees and I was representing both the College of Education at The University of Texas at Austin as well as the UTeach Natural Sciences Program which I co-founded as well as my involvement with a number of charter schools and public school districts. Overall, it was an excellent workshop, met some new colleagues and reconnected with some old colleagues. Exciting to be part of this national effort and the possibility of some external funding for pursuing research and development in this important and evolving area of not only college education but the entire K-16 trajectory. -Dr. Petrosino 

In order to address critical questions related to the integration of computing education into schools of education, together computer science education researchers, leaders from colleges of education, teacher educators, and computer scientists will participate in a workshop to explore options and share current practices.

The workshop will address the issues surrounding the expansion of computing education into teacher education programs, specifically as it related to schools of education with the following goals:

* To emphasize the importance of computing education as a domain-based education research discipline, like physics or mathematics education.
* To provide models to Colleges of Education for integrating computing education, and especially, to deal with the unique challenges of computing education, e.g., the need to address issues of equity and under-representation.
* To work alongside Colleges of Education to explore credentialing issues with regard to computer science.

Agenda and Strategies for Innovation

We challenge US Colleges of Education to build on the new knowledge and research in computer science education in order to integrate this new discipline into their programs. What we propose is nothing less than a change to the American Education canon. Such enormous change will require innovating in different ways, using different models and strategies, before we find models that work. This workshop is about developing those strategies. As a start, we’re building on existing successful efforts in the largest school districts—New York City and Los Angeles—in the US and by bringing in a group of interdisciplinary faculty from schools of education and computer science to workshops.

The agenda and speaker list will be finalized and shared shortly. Currently planned are sessions regarding international implementations of CS education, integrating CS Education into other subjects, models of teacher development at elementary and MS, and teacher preparation programs and credentialing.

Developing Framework, Models, and Research Agenda for Computing Education

In these workshops, we aim to describe a pathway for schools of education to integrate computing education into their teacher education programs. Schools of Education and pre-service teacher education programs already have existing curricular structures and mandates. Any approach to Computing Education needs to integrate within these existing mechanisms — we cannot take a tabula rasa stance. As a result of the proposed workshop, we anticipate defining the teacher education pipeline for making computing education part of every American student's experience:

1. We plan to define a framework to explain how computing education can coherently be a part of education pre-service programs, e.g., what classes need to be added, what content needs to be added to existing classes.

2. We plan to provide representative models for integrating computing education content into elementary and secondary school programs so that it becomes obvious what content teachers need for teaching different student audiences.

3. The evidence-base for computing teacher development is to shallow. We will need to know more to create our framework and model. We plan to define a research agenda to address the unanswered questions about how computing education fits into primary and secondary school milieux.

Funding for the workshop, Finding a Home for Computing Education in Schools of Education, was provided through grant number 7667100 by the National Science Foundation. Any opinions, findings, or conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the CSNYC and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.