April 22, 2016 -- The 2016 Maryland Computing Education Summit, funded by an ECEP minigrant with additional support from the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE), welcomed over 200 teachers, administrators, legislators, and higher education and industry leaders. From the welcome address by Dr. Jack Smith, Interim State Superintendent of Schools, to the keynote address by Dr. Freeman Hrabowski, University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC) President, the summit was clearly focused on the importance of revising P-12 computer science (CS) education, preparing more teachers, and addressing gaps between K-12 and college.
Led by educators at UMBC, members of CS Matters, and the MSDE, state leaders are bulding a strong collaboration to drive change and create equity in CS education. Dr. desJardins, Professor of Computer Science and Associate Dean for Academic Affairs for the College of Engineering and Information Technology at UMBC, noted that in the past, organizers seeking to lead change in CS education struggled to get responses to brief surveys about CS work in the state. "It's amazing to reflect on how far we've come since our first summer workshop for high school teachers in 2011," desJardins said. Three years after their first gathering to discuss the future of CS education in the state, each of the 24 Maryland counties was represented at the full day summit and already addressing the the opportunities and challenges posed by the scaling of CS education in P-12.
The Summit agenda consisted of opportunities for knowledge sharing and networking. Sessions ranged from 'Diversity and Equity: Why is CS Education Access so Important?' led by Dr. Jane Plane, Director of the Maryland Center for Women in Computing, to 'CS Professional Development for In-Service Teachers' led by a team of master trainers. Summit participants left with new ideas, renewed interest, and a goal to stay connected in order to keep Maryland and the students in P-16 on the forefront of the CS for All initiative. As Dr. Smith noted earlier in the day, CS education and CS for All will only become a reality if "we work together in the interest of the students."
Dr. desJardins agress that collaboration is key to moving forward and supporting CS advances in the state. "CS Matters is now partnering closely with MSDE and others across the state who are committed to teaching all students, at all ages, about computer science and computational thinking. We have made significant advances in teacher training, standards and curriculum, and administrator awareness, and we are working towards improved teacher certification and course offerings. It is a very exciting time for CS in Maryland and across the country."
If you want to learn more about the CS work in Maryland, check out these resources:
CS Matters: http://csmatters.org/
Maryland State Department of Education CS: http://www.marylandpublicschools.org/MSDE/divisions/dccr/cs.html
Maryland Computing Education Steering Committee’s 15 year proposed goals for CS education: http://ce21maryland.umbc.edu/ecep-goals-2016/