The Massachusetts Computing Attainment Network (MassCAN) at Education Development Center, Inc. (EDC), proposes to address the national need for a more strategic and systemic approach to computer science (CS) education by bringing together multi-sector teams from 10 states that have demonstrated leadership in developing strategic approaches to effect statewide impact on K–12 CS education. During a two-day Workshop and four one-day follow-up sessions throughout the year, the 10 teams will share best practices, address common challenges, and build their capacity for continued leadership.
The Workshop will focus on four dimensions that states have identified as key to a strategic plan:
- Building political will
- Engaging business leaders
- Creating broad-based coalitions to lead state K–12 CS education
- Ensuring that equity is a central principle of all implementation strategies
The MassCAN/EDC project team will synthesize the states’ strategic approaches (gleaned from the Workshop and follow-up work) and develop multi-dimensional models for effective strategic action, which they will then disseminate to other states.
The National Workshop Agenda and the Attendee Contact Information are posted on this page.
The past 10 years have seen increased discussion of the importance of CS as an essential driver of our nation’s innovation economy. This discussion has largely focused on the nation’s alarming inability to meet the growing need for a diverse, well-trained, and highly skilled CS workforce capable of sustaining both our government’s and industry’s leadership in global innovation.
Currently, more than half the states in our country engage in an array of tactical activities to promote CS education; federally and privately funded projects and/or local initiatives also support CS education though a variety of activities, including teacher professional development programs, public awareness campaigns (e.g., the Hour of Code), expansion of CS course offerings, and CS clubs. However, there is a growing awareness among stakeholders that as important as these initial tactical efforts are, it is essential that states develop complementary strategic initiatives that lay the foundation for coherent statewide policy and program initiatives. It is the state’s strategic, not the tactical, approach that will provide the basis for scaling CS to all of its students.
The Workshop will move this much-needed strategic work forward by bringing together state leadership teams that are at the forefront of such efforts, providing opportunities for interactions with national leaders, focused sharing of successes and challenges, and time for intensive team-based work on further development of state strategy.
Additionally, the State K–12 CS Capacity Building project will contribute to the field’s understanding of implementing CS education at scale. Drawing on approaches and perspectives shared and discussed at the Workshop, the project will develop multi-dimensional models for strategic support of K–12 CS education. These models will then be disseminated for potential use, testing, and modification by other states.
The Workshop will have a broad impact on CS education at several levels. First, it will further advance the work of the 10 states participating in the Workshop, who are leading the way in developing both strategic and tactical approaches to CS education, and provide opportunities for them to meet and learn from one another. Because each of the 10 states has embarked on largely uncharted territory, the Workshop creates an opportunity for leadership teams to share emerging best practices, explore challenges that are constraining scaling efforts, brainstorm strategies to overcome common challenges, and further develop their own state capacity-building models for promoting broad support from critical sectors (political/government, business leaders, statewide education coalitions) and providing CS education on a genuinely equitable basis.
Second, the synthesis of strategic models—to be refined over the following year by a core group of state leaders and the EDC team—will be broadly disseminated to K–12 CS stakeholders in other states and will be highlighted through webinars and national conference presentations and at national stakeholder meetings.
Finally, by explicitly focusing on equitable access to CS education within state strategies, this project will support states’ efforts to address the critically important need of providing high-quality CS education to more female and underrepresented minority students.