Curriculum Design as an Engineering Problem
Around the world, numerous countries are rushing to add computer science to school curricula. Given this sense of urgency, many curricula are being proposed and tried out, often with the goal of teaching “computational thinking”. Due to the lack of widespread expertise in computing education, technologists everywhere — many with a minimal understanding of schools — are being drafted to weigh in on curricula or are even designing their own, in some cases turning these into commercial ventures.
In this climate, how should we actually address curriculum design? What are the constraints and affordances in schools, and what does it take for computation to actually be effective in teaching thinking? Given that curricula, once adopted, often stay in place for a long time, the need for research-driven designs is especially pressing.
This talk will distill lessons from Bootstrap, one of the largest computing outreach programs in the USA, but the principles discussed apply across curricula, countries, and ages.
Joint work with Emmanuel Schanzer and Kathi Fisler.
Shriram Krishnamurthi is a Professor of Computer Science and an Associate Director of the Executive Master in Cybersecurity at Brown University. With collaborators and students, he has created several influential systems: DrRacket and WeScheme (programming environments),
Programming Languages”. He co-directs the Bootstrap math-and-computing outreach program. He won SIGPLAN’s Robin Milner Young Researcher Award, SIGSOFT’s Influential Educator Award, and Brown’s Henry Merritt Wriston Fellowship for distinguished
contribution to undergraduate education. He has authored over a dozen papers recognized for honors by program committees. He has an honorary doctorate from the Università della Svizzera Italiana.