Computational Thinking Conference?

There are an increasing number of governments, both local and federal, that require or offer computer programming as part of their core curriculum. In January of 2014, a report by The European Schoolnet, a “network of 31 ministries of education” across Europe, probed member countries and found that 12 countries had made computer programming a priority, with 8 others planning to make it so in the near future. Three countries, England, Finland, and Greece, have made computing compulsory starting in the early grades.

At the same time, there is increasing interest on a more grass-roots scale. My hometown (Park City, Utah) now provides programming course starting in Elementary School. The Chicago Public Schools district plans to become the first large urban school district in the U.S.A. to offer computer programming to K-8 students as part of their core education, training 5000 teachers in the process.  New York has plans to make computer programming available to all students, K-12, by 2025, and plans on spending $81,000,000 to accomplish the feat.

With this increase interest in coding, I’m curious what others who study and practice computational thinking think of starting a conference on the topic. I don’t think I’d be ready for it this year, but what spurred the idea was this offer to lead a Frontiers Research series on the topic. I’m curious if there are others out there who research Computational Thinking, that would be interested in pursuing something like this for the future.  I can see a conference specifically aimed at teaching computing in K-12 contexts being very beneficial and attract a wide-ranging audience.  Thoughts?

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Peter Rich

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1 Comment

  • I would be extremely interested in attending such a conference, especially if there was a real representation of elementary and middle school topics. Although I went to the CSTA conference last year, I don’t plan on attending this year mainly because when educators, like those who put on the conference, say CS K-12 they frequently mean high school grades exclusively.

    In fact, I would love a conference focused on only K-8 because I feel our needs are not only unique but under-addressed.

    Also, thanks for the shout out to Park City!

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