No wonder there is a CS teacher education problem

I think this is one of the problems with CS education.  The link goes to a presentation given by an education professor at the local university at a state conference for administrators.  He is the computer tech education guru in the department.

Martin is a good friend and I respect his opinion but respect does not mean I think he has a clue what technology education is all about.  I looked at his technology today slide and his not technology slide and the first thing that came to mind was “no wonder we have no real CS teacher education program”.  Martin is a specialist in teacher tools for the classroom but there is something wrong when the supposed tech guru puts programming in the not technology list.  I look at Martin’s list of what technology is today and think there is almost no technology in the list; it is mostly consumer software and consumer gadgets, all of which are very useful tools in education.  I do agree several of his not technology list items are not, and never were, technology, but the other half is the backbone of technology.  Neither list can be ignored because both can be absolute necessities in the world today.  Being able to use all that nifty consumer software and gadgetry does mean you had better know how to troubleshoot hardware and software issues; that you had better have a general idea how to fix it when it does not work; that it is not all just magic that is somebody else’s responsibility to take care of.  We are educating teachers on how to use this consumer tech to supposedly improve their ability to teach and to improve their student’s skills in consumer tech.  We should also be preparing teachers how to teach the kids how to build this consumer tech and how to invent the consumer tech of the future.  We should be teaching kids how to make Martin’s technology list all skeuomorphisms (you need to read the rest of the slides to define that one) before somebody in China or India does.

Now I realize Martin is educating non-technology teachers and not CS teachers but there seems to be a philosophy in this presentation that emphasizes consumer technology and totally ignores producing technology.  If this is the trend in mid-level state universities then we proponents of CS education are in deep dodo.  I suspect most of the nation’s teachers come from mid-level state universities and I bet Martin is not the exception.


One Response to “No wonder there is a CS teacher education problem”

  1. geekymom Says:

    This is a fight I have all the time. People want to label CS as equivalent to the consumer gadget stuff. I do teach some of that stuff and am involved in helping build the tech infrastructure of the school, but they’re not the same thing. Most education departments that I’ve had experience with have no clue what CS is, and many CS departments have some hostility for the education department. So that’s a problem. As mark Guzdial was writing jus the other day, most of the Science/math Ed programs are in those departments, not the Ed department.

    I used to teach a similar course for science teachers. I taught them about blogs and wikis and making animations and videos. Not quite CS but closer.

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