Further to the previous CAS papers, Neil Brown (University of Kent) presented a paper entitled: Bringing Computer Science Back Into Schools: Lessons From The UK at SIGCSE’13, the 44th ACM Technical Symposium on Computer Science Education, in Denver in March.
The paper is available to download for free via the ACM Author-ize service below; you can also listen to Neil’s voice-over of the presentation slides. The abstract is as follows:
Computer science in UK schools is a subject in decline: the ratio of Computing to Maths A-Level students (i.e. ages 16–18) has fallen from 1:2 in 2003 to 1:20 in 2011 and in 2012. In 2011 and again in 2012, the ratio for female students was 1:100, with less than 300 female students taking Computing A-Level in the whole of the UK each year. Similar problems have been observed in the USA and other countries, despite the increased need for computer science skills caused by IT growth in industry and society. In the UK, the Computing At School (CAS) group was formed to try to improve the state of computer science in schools. Using a combination of grassroots teacher activities and policy lobbying at a national level, CAS has been able to rapidly gain traction in the fight for computer science in schools. We examine the reasons for this success, the challenges and dangers that lie ahead, and suggest how the experience of CAS in the UK can benefit other similar organisations, such as the CSTA in the USA.
SIGCSE ’13 Proceeding of the 44th ACM Technical Symposium on Computer Science Education, 2013
FYI, the ACM Author-ize service isn’t working for me (still says “buy this article”) but I did find the full text here: http://www.twistedsquare.com/CAS.pdf
My concern in USA universities is that Computer Science is becoming less about science and more about engineering. In fact, the computer science department at my alma mater has moved from Arts and Sciences to the college of Engineering. I fear that it’s being taught just so students can get jobs, like a vocational school. There’s much to be learned from the theory of computing beyond its application.
Ah, that’s odd; did you try this link: http://dl.acm.org/authorize?6806595
With regards to your main point: we have to be careful about just focusing on skills for the IT industry (see this post). One of the major strengths of computer science lies is its multi-disciplinarity: it is the quintessential STEM discipline!
Yes. It redirects to http://dl.acm.org/citation.cfm?id=2445277&CFID=333713621&CFTOKEN=71805704
Thanks for the link to your article on higher education vs. training – plenty of good comments over there.