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All Hands on Deck! Scaling K-12 Computer Science Education


Director Cameron Wilson of ACM's Policy Office Washington

What will it take to scale existing K-12 computer science education reform efforts throughout the United States? That’s a pretty complex question, but it is the critical one the computing community now asks itself with the new Advanced Placement Computer Science Course (CS Principles) course being piloted and numerous other curriculum and policy reform efforts underway. With seed funding from Google and additional support from Microsoft, ACM is launching a major new project in partnership with the National Science Foundation, Google, Microsoft, the Computer Science Teachers Association and the National Center for Women and Information Technology to help the community take the next steps toward scaling K-12 computer science education, and we need your help to inform this project.

Ensuring wide-spread access to rigorous and engaging K-12 computer science education is a grand challenge, and this challenge revolves around key questions: How much professional development around new curricular approaches do we need and what models are out there? How are we going to directly engage with states, school districts and teachers on these issues? What will campaigns of sustained advocacy and awareness look like that will ensure the policy environment supports reform? If we are successful in scaling, how do we sustain reform?

The University of Chicago’s Urban Education Institute (UEI) and the University of Chicago’s Center for Elementary Mathematics and Science Education (CEMSE) are carrying out an 18-month study for ACM’s partnership to better understand the answers to these questions and the availability and nature of computer science professional development for K-12 teachers. The project has four parts:

  • understand and document the landscape of current K-12 computer science teacher professional development;
  • identify the community’s capacity for both serving current computer science teachers and attracting new teachers to the discipline;
  • understand the professional development and institutional supports needed to both attract new and retain teachers in computer science; and
  • work closely with PD providers to identify and develop models and best practices for computer science professional development that attract, retrain and expand the ranks of K-12 computer science educators.

The goal of the study is to produce "actionable intelligence" for the computer science education community to provide more and better computer science professional development, scaling strategies and sustainable efforts.

To start, we need to understand the landscape of computer science professional development as it exists right now. Answering these questions will be a community effort and we need your help.  That is why we are calling for all hands on deck!  We need you to be counted in our landscape study of computer science professional development. If you are a K-12 computer science professional development (PD) provider or know of one, it is of vital importance that your efforts are recognized in this national landscape study of computer science PD.  By completing the survey (link below) you will ensure that your PD opportunity will count.

PD Survey Link: https://uchicagocenter.us2.qualtrics.com/SE/?SID=SV_3ehqq2eWXOhlzvf

For more information about the survey and/or the project, you can go to http://cemse.uchicago.edu/research-and-evaluation/research/computer-science/ or contact Jeanne Century  at jcentury@uchicago.edu.


 

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