problem. In the U.S., the NSF has funded a project called CS10K, which set
the goal of training 10,000 computer
science teachers across the country.
Launched last year, CS10K aims to
build a consortium across academia,
industry, government agencies, and
private foundations, and is part of a
larger NSF-sponsored project called
Computing Education for the 21st Century, or CE21, which will also fund projects in computing education research
and broadening student participation.
CSTA, meanwhile, runs a variety of
professional development initiatives,
including an annual conference and
workshops. It also maintains an online
repository of research and resources.
“You have maybe one computer science teacher per school,” says CSTA’s
Cooper. “At best they have to go to other schools in their district or to other
districts to find other teachers who
look like them. Offering them the ability to network and build a community is
incredibly important.” Israel’s Machshava takes a similar approach, with
an annual conference, courses, and
summer seminars aimed at fostering
professional leadership. In England,
a grass-roots group called Computing
at School (CAS) has formed a partnership with the British Computer Society
to sponsor workshops and coordinate
“Everybody’s picked up this sense
that change is in the air, and that teach-
ers who want to stay on top of this have
got to be proactive,” says Furber. “The
good news is CAS membership went
up from 300 to 600 or 700” after the
publication of Shut Down or Restart.
“The bad news is that’s still only one
teacher for every 10 secondary schools
in the country.”
A variety of university-led programs
have begun to appear, as well. Purdue
University’s CS4EDU is a joint effort be-
tween computer science faculty and the
school’s College of Education to create
a teaching licensure program that pre-
pares education majors to teach com-
puter science in secondary schools.
Carnegie Mellon’s CS4HS reaches out
to current high school teachers through
workshops aimed to help them teach
computer science principles; it has
since received funding from Google’s
Education Group. Finally, there are re-
gional initiatives like Jane Margolis’s
managing the way
CS is taught can
be a challenge even
for countries that
have a standard
Exploring Computer Science—an NSF-supported program that has helped
bring computer science courses to
more than 25 schools in the Los Angeles Unified School District—which will
also inspire work in other cities.
CSTA’s Cooper is optimistic. “We’re
making progress. Ten years ago, you
couldn’t talk about major school systems in CS, and now there’s work being
done in Chicago, Los Angeles, and San
Jose. It starts to slowly add up.”
Brandes, O., Vilner, T., and Zur, E.
Software design course for leading CS
in-service teachers, Proceedings of the 4th
International Conference on Informatics
in Secondary Schools, Zurich, Switzerland,
Jan. 13–16, 2010.
CSTA Teacher Certification Task Force
Ensuring Exemplary Teaching in an
Essential Discipline: Addressing the Crisis
in Computer Science Teacher Certification,
Computer Science Teachers Association,
new York, n Y, Sept. 2008.
The Royal Society
Shut Down or Restart? The Way For ward
for Computing in UK Schools, The Royal
Society, London, U.K., Jan. 2012.
“The James Mac Taggart Lecture,”
MediaGuardian Edinburgh International
TV Festival 2011, Edinburgh, Scotland,
August 26, 2011.
Wilson, C., Sudol, L.A.,
Stephenson, C., and Stehlik, M.
Running on Empty: The Failure to Teach
K– 12 Computer Science in the Digital Age,
Association for Computing Machinery, new
York, n Y, 2010.
Leah hoffmann is a technology writer based in brooklyn,
© 2012 aCM 0001-0782/12/10 $15.00
the royal society and
national center for Women
& information technology
(nc Wit) recently honored five
leading computer scientists.
the newly created royal
society Milner Award is given
for outstanding achievement
in computer science by a
european researcher. the
inaugural recipient is Gordon D.
Plotkin, professor of theoretical
computer science, University of
edinburgh, who was selected
for “his fundamental research
into programming semantics
with lasting impact on both
the principles and design of
nc Wit recently announced
the inaugural recipients of
its Undergraduate research
Mentoring Award. four computer
scientists were selected “for
their outstanding mentorship,
creation of high-quality research
opportunities, recruitment of
women and minority students,
and efforts to encourage and
advance undergraduate students
in computing-related fields.” the
2012 recipients are:
˲ Diana Franklin, tenure-equiv-alent teaching faculty, University
of california, santa Barbara.
franklin has developed a retention pipeline by recruiting students during their freshman year
and has mentored 18 students,
half of whom are female or from
other underrepresented groups.
˲ Juan Gilbert, ideas professor
and chair of the Human-cen-tered computing division, clem-son University. gilbert’s lab is
home to nearly 8% of the nation’s
African-American computer science ph.d. students.
˲ Scott McCrickard, associate professor, Virginia tech.
Mccrickard conducted specific,
targeted outreach to undergraduate women by partnering with
local women’s colleges.
˲ Mingrui Zhang, professor, Winona state University.
though his computer science
department’s student body is
only 4% female, Zhang actively
recruits women to his research
programs and seeks funding to