Monday, December 15, 2014
In an earlier post Working Together to Support Computer Science Education, Chris Stephenson describes how achieving systemic change in computer science (CS) education involves a multitude of factors including collaboration among researchers, educators, parents, policy-makers, students and the media. In addition to our own outreach programs and research, we also support organizations and invest in programs that are making strides to increase access to CS education in schools.
In October, we supported the Alliance for California Computing Education for Students and Schools (ACCESS) by convening some of the nation’s leading researchers and practitioners in CS education. The ACCESS gathering was an energetic and action-packed day for developing pathways for K-12 CS education in California, with a particular focus on equitable access for all. With the recent signing of three bills for CS education in California, this was a major step toward making quality CS available in California K-12 schools. The summary report of the convening can be found here.
These efforts in California, a key state in the national education picture, are critical to the forward momentum for CS education across the United States and globally, and they’re just the beginning. The importance of CS is recognized globally, and we aim to take advantage of these opportunities to increase quality and availability of CS education. In England, where Computing was recently implemented as part of its National Curriculum, we have been working in partnership with Code Club Pro to kick start a national program to train primary school teachers across the country and with Teach First to recruit and train CS teachers in secondary schools.
A big part of our focus on CS education is ensuring that everyone, regardless of background, has appropriate access to quality CS education. Issues of equity in education vary dramatically by location and situation. That’s why our efforts are supported by local Googlers in our offices worldwide, from Japan to Spain to Australia. Our global presence means that we can tailor our outreach locally to cultures and customs, because quality education does not have a one-size-fits-all scenario. Driven by data, we can provide strategic and effective support for CS education, in close collaboration with the local stakeholders. For instance, we empower our RISE partners to evaluate their programs so that they can understand what is effective for their specific organization as well as their students. We hold monthly Hangouts on Air to share the latest CS education research and best practices for these partners to incorporate and adapt for their programs.
At Google, we are working to empower the youth today to be the creators of tomorrow. It’s a long and complex journey, but in partnership with local organizations around the globe, we hope to ensure that everyone has equitable access to CS education.