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CSed Visions: A Framework for Considering the Underlying Rationales for and Purposes of Computer Science Education

Fri, April 28, 8:15 to 10:15am, Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center, Meeting Room Level, Room 221 C


As CS4All initiatives across the country gain momentum, questions about the underlying purposes of education that have been present in historical education debates (Labaree, 2011) remain underexamined. Technocratic issues such as teacher training and capacity (Century, Lach, King, Rand, Heppner, et. al., 2013; Gray, Haynie, Packman, Boehm, Crawford, & Muralidhar, 2015), curriculum (Astrachan & Briggs, 2012), and standards (, Forthcoming) often dominate questions of implementation. However, research focusing on large scale educational implementation has noted that “coherent instructional systems” have well-articulated purposes and visions at their center (Cobb, Jackson, Smith & Henricks, in press). Without a sense of the “Visions” for CS education that go beyond standards, CS4All initiatives risk falling prey to lack of direction and focus, with important implications for equity in learning opportunity.
In this poster, we introduce a framework that describes a range of purposes that might undergird CS education programs, curriculum or initiatives, and creates throughlines between how purposes line up with enacted pedagogies and policies. The intention of the framework is to allow educators, designers, administrators and policymakers to carefully consider how their current initiatives reflect different ideologies and assumptions.
The framework was developed through a six month participatory knowledge building (PKB) process (AUTHORS 2 & 3, 2016) with 45 stakeholders including teachers, informal educators, researchers and technology developers connected to the CS4All initiative in New York City (City of New York, n.d.). PKB draws on diverse stakeholder expertise as the basis for theory development. Three knowledge building sessions were facilitated where stakeholders surfaced wide-ranging rationales for CS education, relationships among these rationales and how they linked to particular pedagogical designs. The perspectives shared in these meetings were collected as data and study authors engaged in multiple rounds of inductive coding in order to arrive at the framework presented here.
Based on the above analysis we present a framework with five components: (1) A clearly articulated set of ‘CSed Visions’ and rationale for CS education, (2) examples of pedagogical practices linked to different rationales, (3) relationships between the distinct “CSed Visions” and perceptions of how such visions might mutually support one another, (4) disjunctures and tensions among these visions for computer science education, and finally (5) ways that these visions are distinct from the “human capital” arguments most commonly highlighted by media outlets, policymakers and funders.
The CSed Visions framework can be used by a range of stakeholders for different purposes. Administrators and policymakers can use it to carefully consider how their current initiatives reflect different ideologies and assumptions, educators can use it to guide selection of different CSed pedagogical resources, designers can reflect on how their tools may or may not help support broader societal goals, and researchers can use it as a lens for analyzing motivations and ideologies that exist at various levels within educational systems. By recognizing, articulating and validating the many visions undergirding CS education, we hope to contribute a resource that will allow individuals involved in CS4All initiatives to effectively deliberate around the needs they are intending to meet.


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