T5-STEM1-6 - Engineeering and computing education initiatives in Oklahoma (WIP)

1. Innovative Practice Work In Progress
Keith Ballard1
1 University of Oklahoma

In the United States, over one million computer-programming and engineering positions are expected to go unfilled in 2020.  This pressing need for greater expertise in computing and engineering education has placed considerable pressure on public schools to provide stronger content, training, and hands-on experience in these areas.  However, while many policymakers across United States jurisdictions have attempted to bridge the skills gap by expanding career and technical education, this training often provides only a foundation for future work in high-skills careers in computer-programming and engineering.  In the United States, Oklahoma has led innovative policy initiatives aimed at connecting engineering and computing education in K-12 public schools to post-secondary training.  Currently, Oklahoma's Department of Career and Technlogy Education oversees computing and engineering programs at 29 post-secondary technology centers, 394 K-12 school districts, 16 high skills centers, and 32 adult education centers.  In recent years, the state's Department of Career and Technology Education has worked to develop collaborative partnerships between high schools and post-secondary institutions with the primary goal of facilitating in-depth training in computer and engineering education beyond high school.  In this proposal, Keith Ballard, former Superintendent of Tulsa Public Schools and Executive Director of the Oklahoma State School Boards Association, discusses school-university collaborative partnerships in Oklahoma that link high school training in computer-programming and engineering to university programs in these areas.  This presentation examines curricular design, experiential learning, accountability measures, capacity-building investments, and organizational restructuring that undergird school-university partnerships in computer and engineering education in Oklahoma.  This presentation also reviews social and economic outcomes for these programs in the state and considers what policy and research questions school-university collaborative partnerships raise for computing and engineering education.