Kathi Fisler is a Research Professor of Computer Science at Brown University and co-director of Bootstrap, an outreach program that integrates computing and data science into existing classes in middle- and high-schools. After an initial career in formal methods, she now focuses her research on computing education at the pre-college and college levels. She's currently working on blending data science and computer science into "Data-Centric Computing", a new model for introductory computing curricula that leverages many features of functional programming.
The "language wars" about the best way to teach programming are alive and well. They're also moving into new territory. Many countries are ramping up computing education for K-12. Disciplines across universities are looking to develop Data Science abilities in their students. Leaders emphasize having these efforts reach students equitability, lest we increase digital divides. Which languages, curricula, pedagogies, and tools would help us meet those goals? Luckily for the fun()ky folks like those as Lambda Days, we have a lot of experience, as well as educational research, showing the value of functional programming in these broader settings. By summarizing what we already know from these efforts, I hope to leave everyone with fresh talking points about the centrality of functional programming to holding these values together in computing education.Slides