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The Role of CS Departments in The US President’s “CS for All” Initiative: Panel from SIGCSE 2017


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In January 2016, US President Barack Obama started an initiative to provide CS for All – with the goal that all school students should have access to computing education. Computing departments in higher education have a particularly important role to play in this initiative. It’s in our best interest to get involved, since the effort can potentially improve the quality of our incoming students. CS Departments have unique insights as subject-matter experts to inform the development of standards. We can provide leadership to inform and influence education policy. In this session, we will present a variety of ways in which departments and faculty can support CS for All and will answer audience questions about the initiative. Our goal is to provide concrete positive actions for faculty.

Barbara Ericson spoke on influencing our incoming students and using outreach to improve the number and diversity of students and to improve the number and quality of teachers.

Rick Adrion spoke on CS faculty providing subject-matter expertise to standards efforts. A key role for CS faculty is to help teachers, administrators, and public policy makers to understand what CS is.

Megean Garvin spoke on how CS faculty can provide a leadership role. Faculty have a particular privileged position to draw together diverse stakeholders to advance CS Education.

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The Role of CS Departments in The US President’s “CS for All” Initiative: Panel from SIGCSE 2017

  1. 1. The Role of CS Departments in The US President’s “CS for All” Initiative Mark Guzdial (moderator), Barbara Ericson, W. Richards (Rick) Adrion, Megean Garvin
  2. 2. First a word from the former US Chief Technology Officer, Megan Smith
  3. 3. What role can Computer Science departments play in meeting the challenge of CS for All?
  4. 4. Barbara Ericson Influencing future students
  5. 5. CSforAll Barbara Ericson Georgia Tech
  6. 6. Overview › Teacher Professional Development › Lending Library › Advocate for K-12 CS › Ebooks › Competitions › Alice, Scratch, AP Bowl › PSAT Letters › Rise Up 4 CS › Summer Camps
  7. 7. Teacher Professional Dev › Started in 2004 › Increase the quantity and quality of computing teachers › Increase the quantity and diversity of students › Funding › Toyota Foundation › NSF Grants › Lending Library
  8. 8. Advocate for K-12 CS › Standards Committee › CS Endorsement › CS Counts as a 4th Science › 2012 › CS Task Force 0 500 1000 1500 2000 2500 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 # Students Taking the AP CSA Exam in Georgia
  9. 9. Free Interactive Ebooks › Teacher and student ebook for AP CSP › acherCSP › udentCSP › Student ebook for AP CSA › vaReview
  10. 10. Competitions › Alice › Scratch › AP Bowl › Practice multiple- choice questions › Graded with gradecam › > 250 people › Prizes to top scorers and raffle off the rest
  11. 11. PSAT Letters › Send letters to the parents of underrepresented students who do well on the PSAT › Encourage them to take Advanced Placement CSP or CSA › Virtual High School › Advocate for CS at their school
  12. 12. Rise Up 4 CS › Helps underrepresented students succeed in AP CSA and CSP › Undergraduate near peer role models › Remote 1 hour sessions using Google Hangouts on Air › 3 hour in-person help sessions › Funding › Google Rise Awards and Oracle › Sisters Rise Up 4 CS – female only
  13. 13. Rise Up 4 CS Outcome › Record number of Black students pass the AP CSA exam in Georgia each year › Spring 2013 › Record number of female students pass the AP CSA exam in Georgia each year › Fall 2014-2015 0 20 40 60 80 100 120 140 160 180 200 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 # Black # Black Passed 0 100 200 300 400 500 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 # Female # Female Passed
  14. 14. One Student’s Story - 2013 Project Rise UP 4 CS gave me the direction I wanted to take in life. I had no interest in CS, but taking the program I desired to take a computer related field. The program helped me out because I learned the basic concepts of coding that allowed me to succeed in my coding class.
  15. 15. Computing Summer Camps › Run computing summer camps › Rising 3rd and up › Led by K-12 teachers › Financially self-sustaining › Majority Minority › Minority students are less likely to have computing at school
  16. 16. W. Richards (Rick) Adrion Providing subject matter expertise
  17. 17. Providing Subject-Ma4er Exper8se •  CS faculty can provide valuable input to: – Higher educa8on admission requirements – K12 learning and CS educa8on research – State ac8ons on educa8on – Standards – Engaging your local or regional schools/districts – Licensure/Cer8fica8on – Pre-service teacher educa8on programs
  18. 18. How can I contribute? •  Higher educa8on admission requirements –  Typically AP CS-A counts for credit/placement, but not as an admission factor (as part of minimum academic record) –  While AP CSP may count for credit - What about towards a degree? As an admission factor? To sa8sfy a GenEd requirement? –  College credit increases student (and parent) interest in K-12 CS •  K12 learning and CS educa8on research –  Look at real problems of interest to schools and districts, e.g., NSF CS for All RPP •  Offer opinions on state ac8ons –  As an example, make sure CS is in the state Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) plan Get your college to report to the College Board
  19. 19. Why should you care about K-12 CS standards? •  Standards affect all schools, not just highly resourced districts -> can contribute to broadening par8cipa8on, inclusion, and the school to college/career pipeline •  Can help bring more CS-ready students and students with CS knowledge across all disciplines to college •  SEA/LEA staff, schools struggle with understanding computer science and computa8onal thinking •  Standards are not frequently revised, so CS standards must be forward looking •  Standards help define licensure, in turn highly qualified teachers -> more engaged students
  20. 20. Na8onal Standards •  Par8cipate/Write –  Lori Pollock Professor University of Delaware –  Julia Bell (Walters State CC), Caitlin McMunn Dooley (Georgia State), Diana Franklin (UChicago), Dan Frost (UC Irvine), Maya Israel (UIUC), Irene Lee (MIT) •  Review/Advise/Comment –  Maryland CS Ma^ers Steering Commi^ee, University of Washington CS Faculty –  Owen Astrachan (Duke), Karen Brennan (Harvard), Brian Dorn, (Nebraska-Omaha), Phillip Eaglin, Kathi Fisler (WPI), Jeff Forbes (Duke), Joanna Goode (Oregon), Mark Guzdial (Georgia Tech), Helen Hu (Westminster), Yasmin Kafai (Penn), Fred Mar8n (UMass Lowell), Meg Ray (Cornell Tech), Dave Reed (Creighton), Ben Shapiro (Colorado) (Boulder) , Uri Wilensky (Northwestern), Aman Yadav (Michigan State) •  Promote in your state
  21. 21. State level standards In Progress: California, Colorado, Idaho, South Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia Source:
  22. 22. State Standards Varia8on: Grade Spans, included in Science, with Literacy, Teacher Expecta8ons
  23. 23. Massachuse4s DLCS Framework knowledge, reasoning, and skills are essen8al to prepare students for personal and civic efficacy in the twenty-first century Prac8ces to apply in reasoning, crea8on, and problem solving 4 Strands, 4 grade spans Framework will include crosswalks to ELA, Math, ST/E, Health
  24. 24. The MA DESE DLCS standards •  Why Digital Literacy and Computer Science? –  Replace exis8ng Technology Literacy Standard •  The DESE DLCS Panel –  Formed by Dept. Elementary and Secondary Educa8on in coopera8on with MassCAN, MassCUE –  Teachers, Administrators, School Board Members (Falmouth, Boston, Williamsburg, Montachuse^, Concord, Cambridge Rindge & La8n, Dracut, Mashpee, Ashland, Winchester, Somerville STEAM Academy, Salem, Andover, Codman Academy Charter, Newton, Millis, Newton South) –  Faculty, Researchers, Program Managers (MIT, UMass Lowell, MassBay CC, UMass Amherst, UMass Boston, Framingham State, Worcester Polytechnic Ins8tute, Broad Ins8tute, Museum of Science, Concord Consor8um, EDC) –  Technologists (Paragus Strategic IT, MITRE, Google, Ab Ini8o, PTC Inc.)
  25. 25. The MA DESE DLCS standards •  How did we define? –  Looked at 2011 CSTA K-12 Standards, 2008 MA Technology Literacy Standards, 2007 AASL Standards, 2007 ISTE Standards, 2013 UK Compu8ng at School Ini8a8ve, College Board Computer Science Principles –  Met monthly for almost year, DESE/EDC/MassCAN edited •  Approved June 2016 •  What now? –  Get districts to adopt, develop curricula, –  Expand in-service teacher PD –  Develop teacher licensure, pre-service teacher programs DL CS DL & CS
  26. 26. Challenges •  Engage districts to adopt, develop curricula – MA is “local control” state •  Need models: Integrate in K-5, ? 6-8? CS track 9-12 •  Curricula – Teachers/Administrators don’t know what CS is – Expand in-service teacher PD •  Districts, not state fund PD •  Need sustainable programs •  Help design pre-service teacher programs Recognize faculty for K-12 educa8on and outreach!
  27. 27. Megean Garvin Providing leadership
  28. 28. Maryland Computing Education Megean E. Garvin, Ph.D. UMBC CS Matters in MD
  29. 29. CS Matters in Maryland Co-PI Jan Plane (UMCP) Co-PI Marie desJardins (UMBC) Dianne O’Grady-Cunniff LaPlata H.S., Charles County Joe Greenawalt North Point H.S., Charles County Jennifer Smith Digital Harbor H.S., Baltimore City Lead Teachers
  30. 30. CS Matters in Maryland — Accomplishments: § Developed the Collaborative Curriculum Creation System (C3S) to create the CS Matters in MD AP CSP course § Trained 75 CS Teachers in MD and created state-wide Community of Practice § Provided 240+ teachers (nationally and internationally) with access to curriculum § Reviewed by the College Board for endorsement
  31. 31. CS Matters in Maryland — Partnership networks: § Steering committee members (35+ from MSDE, school systems, universities, industry, and nonprofits) § Maryland Chapter of Computer Science Teachers Association (hundreds) § Summit and other event attendees (hundreds) § State CS Education Contact Database (over 1,000) Teachers with Access to CS Matters in MD AP CSP Curriculum
  32. 32. CS Matters in Maryland — Students reached across MD and beyond (thousands) — National visibility through Expanding Computing Education Pathways Alliance, public presentations, published articles, press coverage, social media...
  33. 33. Maryland Computing Education — “CS Counts” as a technology education or 4th mathematics credit for H.S. graduation requirements. — MD has the highest per capita AP CS test taking and passing rate in the country. — Maryland representatives from MSDE and public high school teachers participated in the national CS framework and standards design and is moving towards adoption of statewide standards. — Hundreds of secondary teachers have been trained through quality CS PD by multiple providers in MD (CS Matters,, PLTW, etc.).
  34. 34. Maryland Center for Computing Education Mission: Expand access to high-quality K-12 computing education in Maryland for all students through teacher preparation, coalition building, and advocacy — Established in February 2017. — USM leadership: Nancy Shapiro, Dewayne Morgan — Carry out innovative pedagogical research and training — Increase awareness of CS education issues among students, parents, teachers, administrators, and the general public — Coordinate with CS education initiatives nationally — Assess progress and leverage the Maryland Longitudinal Data System Center
  35. 35. Your turn! Suggested Questions • Do you see the "CS for All" effort changing under President Trump's administration? • Some Universities are starting CS teacher professional learning at the undergraduate level ("pre-service"). What role (if any) do you see CS departments playing in teacher development at the undergraduate level? • How can CS departments help in getting CS education to high school students in rural communities? • What role should CS departments play in developing the research base to support the "CS for All" effort?