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Communications of the ACM

Communications of the ACM

Educating Computing's Next Generation

Robert B. Schnabel of Indiana University, Bloomington

Robert "Bobby" Schnabel is Chair of the ACM Education Policy Committee and Dean of the School of Informatics at Indiana University.

Courtesy of Indiana University

In a sensible world—at least as defined by computer scientists who, as we all know, are eminently sensible people—there would be no need for the ACM Education Policy Committee.

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Cassidy Alan

Parents of the next generation are the ones with the most emotional and material investment in the next generation of individuals, and due to the saturation of the message in popular culture, the importance of computerization is absolutely not lost on them. Therefore, empowering those parents, rich and poor, with choices as to where to send their children will create irresistible attraction to K-12 educational institutions to help those kids become savvy in next-gen technologies.

It's a global issue but central planning will not become better at accomplishing meritorious goals in this area any more than others, but prove the old adages about what the "road to hell is paved with.." and the law of unintended consequences.

Larry Bernstein

It is a tragedy that we can not agree on the difference between education and training; the difference between a software engineer and a computer scientist; the degree of overlapping disciplines between systems and software engineering. Until we agree-to-agree before we disagree there will continue to be much heat and little light on these topics fundamental to creating an educated profession.

For example, must a software engineer be a top notch programmer designer?


"More recently, the situation has gotten worse in nations including the U.S. and the U.K. In the U.S (the initial focus of the EPC), the last decade has seen significant declines in the number of K12 CS courses, the number of students taking the CS advanced placement exam, and the number of undergraduate CS majors."

I have several friends who have children entering college. Their kids were very interested in computers, but their parents saw the degree of outsourcing going on in the industry. All recommended that their children choose another major, such as Mechanical Engineering. Although I don't have any college-age children, I'm afraid my recommendation would have been the same, especially in light of the fact that my company has laid off 1/3 of its workforce and transferred the jobs to Hyderabad and Mumbai. How can we advise that our children spend 4-8 years acquiring expertise in a field when, at an apparent whim without regard for expertise, the people running the company can irrevocably decimate their lives?

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