Friday, December 31, 2021

Looking Back on Computer Science Education in 2021

I’ve never felt less prepared to write a look back on CS education than I do today. I’ve been retired from most of the year and the world has been changed a bit because of COVID. I have noticed some things have clearly happened. One is the increase in online development tools which I talked about a year ago. The other is an apparent growth in cyber security education.

I’ve also noticed some increase in virtual reality programming courses as well. How that will go is anyone’s guess. There are two barriers. One is that VR hardware is still expensive. It’s not just devices like the Oculus but also computers capable enough to support VR and its development. A lack of training is also a barrier. Most teachers seem to be learning on their own with help from documentation and videos from companies. That and some support through social media from other teachers.

The Unity Teach Community has well over 2,000 members and is very active. I highly recommend it if you are looking to get involved in teaching VR.

Online teaching and programming tools have really taken off. The courses support this sort of thing but they are far from the only option. CodeHS for example shows up a lot in social media discussions. As does Coding Rooms. And I should probably collect a list of them for a future post. Perhaps you could add your favorites as comments and help me out?

Cyber security has also seen a lot of growth. has a lot of materials and provide cyber security professional development. Social media support for teachers coming from teachers has also been growing. I recommend the Cybersecurity Educators Facebook group. Over 1,000 members and active and growing. This field is going to boom as security gets more attention all the time.

Every year I expect  the Internet of Things to take off but it never really does. The pandemic has made doing any sort of physical computing more difficult. But I keep hoping.

Machine learning and artificial intelligence didn’t seem to pick up a great deal but it is growing. AI 4 K12 has a lot of useful resources from teachers and I recommend checking them out. Most of what I see in K-12 AI is units in existing courses and not specific full courses. That’s probably best at the K-12 level. The math and coding involved in creating AI from scratch is intense. Learning how to use existing tools is both useful and age appropriate.

So progress has been made and that’s a good thing. 2022 should be interesting. Hopefully, in a good way.

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