Archive for December 17, 2009

CS1 for Google Cell Phones

Article on the first CS1’s that use cell-phone programming in App Inventor for Android as their context.

“Computing no longer has to be on abstract things going on or deep concepts … but it can be about your life,” said Hal Abelson, an MIT professor who developed App Inventor as a visiting faculty member at Google.

via Google brings app-making to the masses.

December 17, 2009 at 1:22 pm Leave a comment

Accessibility concerns for computing education

If you haven’t read Susan Gerhart’s challenging comment on my post about Scratch, I encourage you to do so.  Follow her link (there or below) to see her blog with her wonderful, thought-provoking post about the challenges for disabled students to participate in computing education.

When we talk about making computing education more inviting and engaging at younger ages, where we lose students the most, we most often talk about tools like Alice, Scratch, and Microsoft Kodu which are all visual programming languages! Her concerns are well-placed.  What do we offer the visually disabled?

I’ve been learning from people here at Georgia Tech about universal design. Now I’m trying to take those issues into consideration for the new instructional materials we’re designing for high school teachers — but I’m late to the game.  I don’t think I’m alone.  As a computing education community, we’re not doing enough to build tools that help disabled students learn computing, too.  There are some great resources, like Richard Ladner and the AccessComputing BPC Alliance.  I’m just starting to explore what’s out there.  Thanks to Susan for raising the issue here!

Action: On the home front, pedagogical advances claimed for visual programming languages like Alice are not equally available to visually impaired students and teachers. first, is this a true assertion? How does this situation fit the definition of equal or equivalent access to educational opportunities? should the platform and implementation be redone for accessibility? Note: I’ve personally seen a student rapidly learn OO concepts and sat in on Cs1 courses with Alice, but I am totally helpless with only a bright, silent blob on the screen after download. Yes, I’ve spoken to SIGCSE and Alice personnel, suggested accessibility options, but never received a response on what happens to the blind student who signs up for an Alice-based CS course. Please comment if you have relevant experience with accommodations and Alice or other direct manipulation techniques.

via As Your World Changes.

December 17, 2009 at 11:41 am 3 comments

The Quality of For-Profit Colleges

Recent MBA graduates from University College and Oklahoma have median annual incomes of $78,600 and $68,400, respectively, compared with $60,200 from Phoenix and $54,600 from American Intercontinental, the data show. Recent bachelor’s graduates from University College earn a higher median salary ($55,200) than their counterparts at Phoenix ($50,500) and American Intercontinental ($43,100). Oklahoma, at $41,100, trails Maryland and the two for-profit schools.

via Marine Can’t Recall His Lessons at For-Profit College (Update2) –

This article from Bloomberg raises serious concerns about the quality of the for-profit colleges and the value of the degrees being offered.  While the article is mostly focused on students from the military, the concerns are relevant for computing education, as well.  As I mentioned in my post on the recent BPC Alliance PI’s meeting, that’s where the African-American male students are who are interested in computing.  I can’t find the reference right now, but I know that I have seen data (in CACM, I believe) that American Intercontinental University produces more Bachelors degrees in CS than any other institution in the United States.  If these institutions are teaching the students whose success we’re concerned about, and they are teaching the plurality of students, we need to pay attention to their quality.

December 17, 2009 at 11:29 am 3 comments

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 10,185 other subscribers


Recent Posts

Blog Stats

  • 2,060,328 hits
December 2009

CS Teaching Tips