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More Computing, Less IT
More Computing, Less IT
More Computing, Less IT
More Computing, Less IT
More Computing, Less IT
More Computing, Less IT
More Computing, Less IT
More Computing, Less IT
More Computing, Less IT
More Computing, Less IT
More Computing, Less IT
More Computing, Less IT
More Computing, Less IT
More Computing, Less IT
More Computing, Less IT
More Computing, Less IT
More Computing, Less IT
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More Computing, Less IT

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  • 1. More Computing, Less IT: Towards Developing the Next Generation of Technology Creators Lenandlar Singh Department of Computer Science, University of Guyana lenandlar.singh@uog.edu.gy Malcolm Williams Department of Computer Science, University of Guyana malcolm.williams@uog.edu.gy Faculty of Natural Science Conference August 12 –1 4, 2013
  • 2. Objectives • Local Realities • Computational Thinking vs Information Technology • Developments are the World • Developing World vs. Caribbean • Opportunities, Recommendations, Challenges
  • 3. Local Reality • Lower demand for CS than IT in industry • We are generally users of technology, not so much creators • Curricula focuses almost exclusively on IT education • Except CS at CAPE – but optional • Elements of CS in existing IT syllabus at CSEC and CAPE IT
  • 4. Local Reality • Increasingly large number of IT graduates at CSEC and CAPE • Declining enrollment rates into CS and IT programs at tertiary level • Gender divide – less girls in the enrollment • Teacher Education and training very much focused on IT (where it is formalized) • CS/CT is NOT yet considered a STEM subject in region.
  • 5. Computational Thinking “Computational thinking is using abstraction and decomposition when attacking a large complex task or designing a large complex system. It is separation of concerns. It is choosing an appropriate representation for a problem or modeling the relevant aspects of a problem to make it tractable.” --- Jeanette Wing, 2006 [Original Definition]
  • 6. Computational Thinking "Computational thinking involves solving problems, designing systems, and understanding human behavior drawing on the concepts fundamental to computer science“ --- Astrachan, 2009
  • 7. Computer Science as a STEM “Computer science is a proper, rigorous school subject discipline, on a par with mathematics or chemistry, that every child should learn from primary school onwards” •Computer Science is a discipline that seeks to understand and explore the world around us, both natural and artificial, in computational terms. Computer Science is particularly, but by no means exclusively, concerned with the study, design, and implementation of computer systems, and understanding the principles underlying these designs – --- Computing at School Organisation, UK, 2012 •CS is a way of Thinking
  • 8. Computer Science as a STEM Computer Science is a quintessential STEM discipline, sharing attributes with Engineering, Mathematics, Science, and Technology: • It has its own theoretical foundations and mathematical underpinnings, and involves the application of logic and reasoning. • It embraces a scientific approach to measurement and experiment. •It involves the design, construction, and testing of purposeful artefacts. •It requires understanding, appreciation, and application of a wide range of technologies. --- Computing at School Organisation, UK, 2012
  • 9. Information Technology “…the purposeful application of computer systems to solve real- world problems, including issues such as the identification of business needs, the specification and installation of hardware and software, and the evaluation of usability. It is the productive, creative and explorative use of technology” --- Computing at School Curriculum, 2013
  • 10. CS vs IT “Computer Science and Information Technology are complementary subjects. Computer Science teaches a pupil how to be an effective author of computational tools (i.e. software), while IT teaches how to be a thoughtful user of those tools” --- Computing at School Curriculum, 2013 Programming is the heart of CS but not the only Computational Thinking tool
  • 11. Computer at School – Economic Argument •Growing Demand for Computing Jobs • The European Union calculates that in ten years’ time there will be 700 000 more ICT jobs than there are professionals to fill them; • In the US 800 000 jobs in ICTs: U.S. Bureau of labor statistics estimates a 21.8% growth in ICT jobs in the United States by 2020 200 000 in Brazil • globally, that shortfall is estimated to be closer to two million • Locally what is/will be our demand •Computational Thinking, it is argues, helps to produce economically productive citizens by virtue of their approach to problem solving
  • 12. Movement around the World • UK in 2013 announced major curriculum shift from IT to Computing – citing many issues: narrow pipleline to University, declining students’ interest, not enough skills for jobs, etc • Australia – new technology curriculum with greater focus developing computational thinking skills to produce effective solutions for societal problems • USA – many initiatives to include CS as a STEM subject, e.g. CSTA Model Curriculum, programs to train teachers, etc
  • 13. Movement around the World Some Common Important Elements • Common Understanding of the limits of IT and the need for CS/CT •Exclusive Focus on Developing Computational Skills in Curriculum •Less Emphasis (not ‘no emphasis’) on IT skills •Computational Skills are proposed and introduced from Primary School •Significant appreciation for skills required to teach CS/CT •Teaching Training/re-training seen as critical to success •Clear thinking about economic development and overall value of CS/CT to society
  • 14. In Guyana and Caribbean Where are we? •Many students study/pass CSEC IT, very small percent go on to study CS/IT, even smaller number of girls •CS available as CAPE subject, less than 1% move on to CS, and CS is OPTIONAL •Limited discussion on IT vs CS/CT • Primary and Secondary School kids study IT with some elements of CS in CSEC but little, if any, in Primary level – common across all observed Syllabi in Caribbean •Limited teacher training for IT and CS •Clear thinking about economic development and overall value of CS/CT to society is not explicitly articulated/communicated
  • 15. Opportunities & Recommendations •. We MUST include CS/CT in our STEM debate, and move deliberately to examine its place in STEM • Promote CS/CT as a STEM subject and support its development • An examination of Technology curriculum most necessary immediately • Curriculum • Teaching training • Learn from Developing world but adopt to local context
  • 16. Challenges •Challenge to include CS/CT in mainstream thinking and hence Curriculum • Computer Science and Programming seen as difficult like mathematics • Curriculum realignment – training/re-training teachers • We do not yet have established teaching methods for teaching children computing •Encouraging more women to join the field •Creating Environment that is conducive for skills produced
  • 17. Questions & Comments

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