Teaching CS to All: Sustainability Implications

Mapping the Problem Space

Poster by Horațiu Halmaghi and Elizabeth Patitsas, presented at ICT4S 2018


There is a growing international movement for the inclusion of computing in primary and secondary school curricula. This movement presents both opportunities and challenges for sustainability. On one hand, a close relationship between this movement and the ICT4S [Information and Communication Technology for Sustainability] community can support the meaningful integration of sustainability into CS [computer science] education. On the other hand, a successful “CS for all” movement will increase the demand for ICT, posing serious challenges to both environmental and social sustainability. The manufacturing, powering, and use of computers have serious environmental and social costs.

This poster's contribution is to begin a discussion about the sustainability implications of educational initiatives like CS4All. While the ICT4S community has discussed how to incorporate sustainability topics into CS education, we have not yet seriously discussed what is the sustainability of CS education.

We will map out the open questions and tensions around this topic, from the first order questions (e.g. the power consumption of schools teaching CS) to the larger cultural, historical, philosophical, political, and economic questions at hand. This is to spark a discussion about the relationship not only between computing education and sustainability, but also their connections to the kyriarchical structures in which we live.

The poster

poster thumbnail


What is sustainability? What do we mean by computer science education for everybody? What are the relationships between sustainability, computer science and education?

With this poster project we set out to find answers to such questions, but it became clear early on that in order to do so, we first need to better understand the educational and environmental problems we are facing. What follows is a list of articles, books, videos and other resources that helped us to start making sense of these problems. We hope you may find them useful as well.

We have categorized the readings by topic to help you find your way through them, but as the poster above hopefully demonstrates, separating knowledge into distinct areas of study poses challenges to addressing problems that are truly global in scope. We encourage visitors to this website to consider the benefits and limitations of narrowing the scope of scholarly focus, and to look for ways to draw from diverse knowledges in their own work.

If you have any questions or comments, please do not hesitate to get in touch with Horațiu or Elizabeth!

Ecology and sustainability
Education (computing, environmental, and more broadly)
Colonialism and decolonization
Research practices


D. A. Gruenewald, “A Foucauldian analysis of Environmental Education: Toward the socioecological challenge of the Earth Charter,” Curriculum Inquiry, vol. 34, no. 1, pp. 71–107, Jan. 2004.
S. Mann, “A rethink for computing education for sustainability,” in International Association for Development of the Information Society, Melbourne, Australia, 2016.
E. Tuck and K. W. Yang, “Decolonization is not a metaphor,” Decolonization: Indigeneity, Education & Society, vol. 1, no. 1, pp. 1–40, Sep. 2012.
L. P. Nathan, M. Kaczmarek, maggie castor, S. Cheng, and R. Mann, “Good for Whom?: Unsettling Research Practice,” in Proceedings of the 8th International Conference on Communities and Technologies, New York, NY, USA, 2017, pp. 290–297.
J. M. Iseke-Barnes, “Aboriginal and Indigenous People's Resistance, the Internet, and Education,” Race, Ethnicity and Education, vol. 5, no. 2, pp. 171–198, Jul. 2002.


Ggia, File:20151030 Syrians and Iraq refugees arrive at Skala Sykamias Lesvos Greece 2.jpg. 2016. [Online]. Available here.
Jpkelly, GasTank. 2006. [Online]. Available here.
Stichting Onderzoek Multinationale Ondernemingen, Child golddigger in Congo. 2009. [Online]. Available here..
Taiwan News, “Foxconn build industrial park in Malaysia,” Taiwan News, 11-Aug-2011. [Online]. Available here.. [Accessed: 02-May-2018].
Unknown, English: Photograph of students from Fort Albany Residential School reading in class overseen by a nun c 1945. From the Edmund Metatawabin collection at the University of Algoma. 2014. [Online]. Available here..
I. Watson, “China: The electronic wastebasket of the world,” CNN, 30-May-2013. [Online]. Available here.. [Accessed: 03-May-2018].
Computers icon made by Freepik, modified by authors.