Wednesday, December 13, 2023

Looking Forward to Computer Science Education in 2024

“Prediction is very difficult, especially if it’s about the future!” --Niels Bohr

My track record at looking forward in CS education is a mixed bag. I kept expecting a big jump in internet of things courses and those never developed. Sad really. I think it would be a good idea. I keep predicting growth in cybersecurity courses and the past year seem to show a lot of growth there.

Cyber security is getting a lot of press so I see more of these courses in 2023. I hope they are real in-depth courses and not just how to stay safe online. Teacher interested in this should follow the Cybersecurity Educators group on Facebook.

I predict that Artificial Intelligence will be a big deal in CS education in 2024. OK, that’s easy. How will it play out? Well, that is a different question. Certainly teachers are going to be concerned about AI tools helping student cheat. Some, the better teachers, will find ways to use AI tools. For example, having students evaluate the generated code. Does it cover all the conditions? How can prompts be better for better results? It the generated code any good? What does “good code” even mean?

There will also be a growing movement  to teach about AI. How does it work? What are it’s limitations? What are the ethical and social impacts of AI? So much the teach and learn for students and for teachers. We’re only getting started.

Another easy prediction – Python will continue to grow in use.AI libraries will drive some of that for sure. A lot of teachers seem to prefer it to Java though so there is that. Will it replace Java for APCS A? I doubt it. IT will be interesting to see how the JavaScript/Python balance develops in AP CS Principles though. Keep an eye on it.

Unfortunately, I predict continued growth in the number of unprepared CS teachers. I wrote about this in my looking back post and I have no expectation of improvement anytime soon. Looking Back on Computer Science Education 2023

One big thing I wonder about is DEI in CS education. Will the politics and demonization of DEI impact how CS it taught? Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion are pretty important if we’re going to really make progress in computer science. Having a white and Asian mal monoculture has not, in my opinion, led to a good CS ecosystem. We need diverse thought in CS. I may have another post just on that subject.

At the same time, we need to be careful in PD and conferences that we don’t only talk about DEI. I’m not seeing a lot of disagreement on the idea that we need to have diversity in the industry and our classrooms. Teaching equitable is also a no brainer. And inclusion? We’ve pretty much agreed on the need for that in education. Do teachers need to be beaten over the head to see the need? Not the ones I know. At some point too much preaching to the choir is going to result in a backlash that we can ill afford. Let’s not assume that teachers don’t understand the problems. Let’s focus on solutions.

I’m really looking forward to the annual CSTA conference this summer. It’s going to be greet. This summer we will hear what teachers have learned over the last year or two. Being in-person means a lot more interaction.  I may have to make a mid-year post about the 20224/2025 school year after the conference.

So what to you see happening in CS Education in 2024?

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