the ethi{CS} project
September 23, 2020

the ethi{CS} summer project

CS teachers come together to develop curriculum that delivers both technical and ethical training to students.
by Sarah Bakanosky

In late July, nearly forty educators from across the country came together to investigate the high school computer science curriculum. The reason? Computer science teachers are educating the next generation of coders, developers, and engineers; in order for young people to contribute meaningfully in these fields, they need both technical and ethical training. Enter the ethi{CS} summer project: Race, Ethics, and the High School Computer Science Curriculum. Led by Tang Institute fellows Kiran Bhardwaj and Nicholas Zufelt, and facilitated by Emma Ogiemwanye, graduate of the Harvard Graduate School of Design, the summer project had three goals in mind:

  • Introduce and catalyze more expansive approaches to CS curriculum design and teaching
  • Provide a survey of theory and practices in relation to antiracism, equity, and race in the classroom
  • Initiate a pedagogical shift that induces a teacher transformation journey

As part of this four-part learning series, participants were able to learn from leaders in the areas of technology, artificial intelligence, ethics, and education. Different guest experts from MIT, UPenn, Harvard, and the nonprofit world shared their expertise each week. Each session was an opportunity to dive deeply into the presence of white dominant culture norms in the classroom, technology and algorithmic bias, and our own (dis)comfort in leading classroom conversations around race and racism. Together, participants and facilitators explored ways to incorporate equity, antiracism, and ethics into their lesson plans.

Given the increased amount of national attention to continuing racial injustices in America this summer, members of the ethi{CS} community wanted an opportunity to think about next steps for anti-racist practices in their classrooms. We worked with the wonderful Emma Ogiemwanye, who was able to build a program and bring in outside experts on the theme of 'Race, Ethics, and the CS Classroom'.

Kiran Bhardwaj Instructor in Philosophy and Religious Studies, Tang Fellow

While the series wrapped up in August, the group will continue to work together and lean on each other as we all continue to learn about – and do – this important work. Looking ahead, the ethi{CS} project organizers are excited to offer additional sessions during the school year for participants to share how they are putting their learning to practice, using the concrete tools and strategies discussed over the summer.

I am taking away something important from the ethi{cs} summer project - a community [that] I feel I can talk to, share with, and learn from. The ethi{cs} summer project provided validation in my thinking that there is always more room to learn and grow and reflect on our practices - to ensure that they are more inclusive, accessible and ethically-driven.

Alicia Tanpreet Johal, M. Ed. ethi{CS} summer project participant

If you weren't able to join us over the summer, the ethi{CS} project would still love to hear from you! Please be in touch with Kiran and Nick at [email protected] to be included in future mailings about new resources and upcoming events. We also hope you can join us for a community conversation on guiding ethical conversations in the classroom taking place in October; details on this session will be available soon.

The ethi{CS} summer project team includes Emma Ogiemwanye, Kiran Bhardwaj, Michelle Ciccone, Andy Housiaux, and Nicholas Zufelt.

Categories: Projects

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