I’m pleased to announce that my SXSWedu proposal “Engaging Students with Computer Science Education” has been accepted as a panel discussion! Here is a brief abstract describing the purpose of the session:

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“Current trends show a loss of student interest in computer science careers and degrees across the U.S., especially among women and minorities, even though the need for qualified candidates in this field has never been greater. Across the country, computer science experts, computer science educators, researchers, and even policymakers are developing initiatives that address these problems.

In this panel, the leaders of three such initiatives will share their perspectives on computer science education, gender and diversity in the field, and high-quality instructional design for computer science students and teachers alike. Their respective programs, Project Engage (University of Texas, Austin), Exploring Computer Science: Los Angeles (UCLA), and New Mexico Computer Science for All (Santa Fe Institute) represent the latest large-scale efforts in computer science education. Educators, practitioners, and researchers can all learn from their collective expertise.”

As the organizer of the panel, I will not be speaking, but I have booked leaders from three exemplary computer science education initiatives:

These speakers will provide their perspectives as they respond to a variety of questions of my choosing. For example:

  • Why do high school students of all interests need to learn computer science?
  • How can educators engage diverse student populations with computer science?
  • What instructional strategies are effective for develop computational thinking, problem-solving, and college/career readiness skills?

In the three years since I first presented at the inaugural SXSWedu with Dr. Joan Hughes, Dr. Sara Jones, and Michelle Read on “Middle school case studies of technology integration, ” the conference has grown by leaps and bounds. SXSWedu is not an ‘academic conference’ in the sense that AERA or AECT are. Instead, it has become a conference where practitioners, entrepreneurs, administrators, leaders, and researchers co-mingle.

The computer science education movement has never been as ambitious in its efforts for K-12 education as it is today (see CS10K). Nevertheless, those outside the field are often ignorant about computer science, often confusing career and technical education with CS.  I’m hopeful that this panel discussion will illuminate the state of computer science education, the needs of computer science education, and the path forward for computer science education for all those who attend, so that they (educators, researchers, and entrepreneurs) can move forward more purposefully.

I, myself, look forward to what Irene, Jane, and George have to say. We hope to see you there.

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