Friday, March 8, 2013

SIGCSE 2013: Swimming in Social and Professional conversations

SIGCSE continues and as usual brain cells are becoming a bit challenged in many people I meet. All for a good cause - input much data for many good ideas and opportunities and there are bound to be a few neural casualties along the way.

Yesterday afternoon the panel I am a part of took place and went off swimmingly. Three colleagues and I (Beth Hawthorne, Flo Appel and Carol Spradling) spoke about the new curricular Social and Professional recommendations in CS2013 - curricular guidelines document for undergraduate computer science education. We dove into what the guidelines have to say and discussed with an enthusiastic audience some of the approaches, benefits and challenges. One of the most exciting aspects of our presentation for me was learning that several faculty in the audience that I had not yet met were already implementing modules or complete courses revolving around sustainability. Sustainability in the CS curriculum was my focus on the panel.

So many people are doing good work and flying quietly under the radar. They aren't tooting their own horns but given the opportunity to share what they are doing with interested colleagues they are all over it. In terms of sustainability, I was particularly enthused because we are looking for additional exemplars to include in the final version of CS2013.

We'd love to hear from people willing to share their work with others in the community. 

The Ironman Draft of CS2013 was officially released just as SIGCSE opened, and the comment period will last until June. If you have comments, thoughts, contributions on this final draft please, send them along using the contact information provided on the Ironman Draft site.

There is a lot of synergy around issues of computing and social good these days. Without having planned it, our panel complemented the morning special session on computing and social good that I discussed in my last post. Lots of exciting future projects are being discussed (things I overheard or participated in). There are working group reports, case studies, a growing collection of exemplars....what next?

Today, I participated in many discussions about computer science in the K-12 curriculum in the United States. This is another very important topic and a lot of momentum is building around it. There are an increasing number of state and national initiatives and, as Jan Cuny from the National Science Foundation stated in her lightening talk yesterday:  

"We will need all hands on deck. It  is not 'what can you do' but 'What will you do' ".

More and more people in and out of computing education are realizing the importance of doing something about the lack of computer science opportunities in our primary and secondary schools. Not only that, more and more people are realizing they can play a part, sometimes small, sometimes large, in moving towards inclusion of CS in K-12.

Have you thought about what contribution you can make, given your experiences, areas of expertise and connections?

Late this afternoon I had a small window of unscheduled time and decided to take advantage of it by getting some exercise. The pool at this hotel is an outdoors pool. Considering this is Denver, Colorado and it is early March, and a snow storm appears to be on the way, it was an opportunity to obtain a particularly rapid and effective chilling out session. The pool was heated, so this was no suicidal event, but 82 degrees isn't exactly a hot tub. As I tore up and down the lanes and was forced to focus on the moment and only the moment, I obtained the mental space to remember once again just how grateful I am to be here surrounded by so many people who are passionate about teaching and learning and making a difference.

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