Sunday, December 10, 2023

Looking Back on Computer Science Education 2023

I’m posting this early this year. My thinking is clear so why wait?

For many, 2023 was the year that Artificial Intelligence, ChatGPT and other tools, really toss a stick in the wheel of CS education. Suddenly students could use an AI to write code for their programming assignments. People were in a tizzy. The CollegeBoard made last minute changes to AP CS Principles and teachers online could talk about little else for a while.

Things have calmed down some since earlier in the year but educators are still grappling with what it all means for how there teach. This is true not just in CS of course. I am skeptical of those who claim to be experts in AIs impact on education. No one has the depth of experience with AI in the actual classroom yet.

While not really CS, Steve Dembo has been using ChatGPT in interesting ways. He chats with Vicki Davis about it at The Great Student AI Writing Experiment with Steve Dembo (

That is not to say that teachers haven’t learned a lot. A lot of so called experts are saying things like “just change how you teaching ways that make ChatGPT not useful”. As if! There is not a lot of discussion about what sort of change they mean.

The other big thing I have noticed this year may be even more concerning to me. There seems to be a rapid growth in unqualified teachers teaching Computer Science. Now this has always been something on a problem but the rapid growth of requiring CS education in more schools has exacerbated the problem. We are seeing teacher, who are probably great teachers in other areas, being asked to take on CS classes without adequate preparation. I am seeing teachers ask questions online that I would expect their students, after taking their class, to be able to answer.

Frankly, it scares me. For years university faculty complained about incoming students being poorly served by poor CS teaching in the high school level. I can only see those complaints increasing with more validity than in the past. Fixing this is going to take a lot of work.

I don’t blame the teachers. I blame administrators. I also blame legislators who fail to provide the funds and programs for training teachers in this rather technical subject.

OK, those are my two big takeaways from  2023. What have you seen?

1 comment:

Mike Zamansky said...

As you know I've been talking about the preparation and knowledge of K12 CS teachers for some time know and as you also know it's made me few friends :-)

I doubt it will get better since the current system "works" for too many people. Unfortunately, not the kids.