Biggers Receives NSF Grant for K-12 Computing Education Study

Monday, October 3, 2016

Center of Excellence for Women in Technology’s (CEWiT) Director Maureen Biggers hopes to feed the pipeline of tech-savvy college graduate women by helping to advance pre-college level computing education throughout Indiana. With funding from the National Science Foundation (NSF), Biggers and Associate Professor of Instructional Systems Technology Anne Leftwich are leading a statewide initiative to study what is in place, and how it compares to national standards and practices for curriculum and teacher training at the K-12 level.

Biggers and Leftwich have partnered with the Expanding Computing Education Pathways (ECEP) NSF Alliance to improve and broaden participation in computing education in Indiana. In addition to a stakeholder task force, “We have established three teams, at elementary, middle and high school levels, to investigate what is currently going on and to develop strategies we can use in the state of Indiana to achieve our goals,” Leftwich said.

Biggers said her desire to increase access to computing education in K-12 stems from the fact that the number of computing and computing-related degrees being obtained is falling, while the number of jobs in those fields are significantly increasing. “Women are significantly underrepresented in computing and the pipeline needs more talent regardless of gender. At the current rate, two thirds of the computing related job openings through 2025 will go unfilled.”

Task force members include IU faculty from Education and Computer Science, several representatives from the Indiana Department of Education, leadership of the Computer Science Teachers Association, representative teachers, Purdue University, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI), Notre Dame, NextTech and more. The product of this initiative will be a landscape report with strategic next step recommendations for decision and policy makers at the state and district levels.