About a week ago (although it was before Sandy and seems like a year ago), I asked one of our GAs and to compile a list of graduate programs that focus on Computer Science Education or Teaching Computer Science; programs that prepare people to teach Computer Science in K-12 schools. I’m thinking that Adelphi should offer a degree with this focus. I knew that we would be the first in the region, but I didn’t expect the options to be so limited, nationwide.
Pretty much every school of education in the country has degrees in “English Education” or “Math Education.” Typically they certify teachers to teach those subjects in Middle School and High School. I also know that it is a concern among educators and computer scientists that there is no consistent way of preparing teacher to teach computer science. Often high school computer science courses are taught by Math teachers, with a focus on preparing students for the AP Computer Science exams.
Lack of structure and standards for preparing CS teachers has been a known issue for years now, and, I figured, with all of the hype around STEM education, there would be a whole crop of new degrees focused on how to teach computer science effectively.
I was wrong. My assistant turned up a lot of articles about the problem, but couldn’t find any programs that offered a degree or certificate in Teaching Computer Science (or related). I decided to ask around on Twitter. Thankfully, (since my own meagre followers are mostly useless, no offence followers) Audrey Watters re-tweeted my request.
What I learned, is there is not much out there. An expert in the field, Mark Guzdial from Georgia Tech, suggested to look outside of the U.S. for good examples. He suggested Technion, Israel Institute of Technology, which offers a graduate degree in STEM education with this focus.
Another link on Guzdial’s blog led me to the Purdue Computer Science Teaching Supplemental Licensure Program. This license prepares education majors (undergrads, it looks like) to teach secondary computer science. While I commend them for their innovative CSE Methods Course, almost all of the courses are CS domain courses, with only the one methods course and a practicum that look at CS Pedagogical Content Knowledge (PCK). By comparison, the Adelphi Mathematics Education graduate program has 6 PCK courses.
Erik Poole @evpoole and Guzdial pointed me to Nova Southeastern University’s online only Ed.S. (post-masters) degree in Computer Science Education. Unlike the Purdue program, Nova’s 36 credit plan of study has several CSE specific courses, such as “Current Research in Computer Science Education and Technology Systems,” “Computer Science Learning Facilities Design and Maintenance,” and “Survey of Programming Languages for Computer Science Educators.”
The NCATE site has a searchable database of programs. The following schools are listed as having accredited programs in Secondary Computer Science Education, as specified by the ISTE standards (NETS CSE):
- Nova Southeastern University, Florida
- DePaul University, Illinois
- Eastern Michigan University, Michigan
- St. John Fisher College, New York
- John Carroll University, Ohio
- Ohio University, Ohio
- University of Cincinnati, Ohio
- University of Houston, Texas
A cursory look at these program indicates that at least some of them do not focus on Computer Science Education (although they may cover the ISTE content in other courses). In the next week or so I will have a chance to look at these programs in more detail and will write up a concise summary.
In the meantime, if you have comments or tips on where to look (I haven’t looked into international programs yet), please leave them here.