I don't have a long list of things I want to do before I die, or at least not a long list that I'm aware of. I'd like to go to Australia and France. I'd like to see computer science be a standard high school course. ( And I'd like to get a PhD.Collapse )
The idea of getting a PhD has been rattling around my head for a very, very long time. As soon as I finished my masters, I knew I would like to go on and get a PhD someday. In the last four years, I've been considering it more seriously. By now it seems like the obvious next career step. I want to know how to do rigorous research on computer science education. I want to know what the best things are to teach and learn, and how to teach and learn them. And I want proof that they're good, not just a vague anecdotal sense.
One thing I'm struggling with is where. First, I have to figure out whether to have my academic "home" be in a school of education or in a computer science department. I am very concerned that if I don't go through a CS department that the computer scientists will never take me seriously since I'll be "only" an education person. However, since my real interest is curriculum and pedagogy, and since I'm most interested in K-12, a school of education is a more natural fit. (Also, very nervous that with no CS background I'll struggle in a CS department. I'm such a girl.)
In either case, I have to find an advisor who is interested in studying something like what I want to study, which means not (for example) technology integration across the curriculum. Or building a new tool, unless it's a new tool that helps students learn. If I go the CS route, my options are limited. In fact, they are two. I can go to Georgia Tech and study with Mark Guzdial, or I can (soon) go to Purdue and study with Steve Cooper. To say that mrcozy
isn't interested in moving to Georgia or moving back to Indiana (and ESPECIALLY Purdue) probably doesn't capture the extent of his aversion to the idea. Neither program is perfect, they each have some disadvantages, though for the most part I think either might be fine. Another option is to apply to Stanford and Berkeley's schools of education and do a joint program where I get a PhD in Ed and a masters in CS. Those have the advantage of being local (especially Stanford). I recently met Brigid Barron and her research seems like a good fit, so all hope is not lost. (Plus she has worked with Eric Roberts in the past, so there's some history of Ed-CS collaboration!) A final option is to convince Joanna Goode at U of Oregon to take me on. If there's someone who has studied CS Education, there she is!
A quiet concern I have about a school of ed is that most of them are dedicated to social justice. It isn't that I don't care, it's just that social justice is far from my priority. I'm totally comfortable with creating curriculum for upper-middle class white kids; realistically that's where we're going to have to start. It's more important to me to get CS accepted broadly than to work on equity issues. (My "I believe" statement is, "After literacy, I think computer science is the most important thing for kids today to learn.")
The reason why this is titled "never too late" is because of my first experience thinking about getting a PhD. When I was in high school, I had a friend whose mom was getting a PhD in nutrition. I've never forgotten it. I thought it was so great that if you didn't decide on a career in academia (or whatever required a PhD) right away after college, that you could do it later, even when you had kids and they were pretty old. Every time I think about getting another degree, I think about her. I should try to find her and let her know that she's been my inspiration all this time. I have a friend who got her PhD at age 50. My mom is pushing my dad to go back to school now that he's retired for the second time, and I think it's great. I can't imagine thinking I was too old to go back. (I can imagine FEELING old once I got into a classroom surrounded by people much younger than myself, but that's no reason not to do it!)