Archive for July 20, 2010

Impact of Robots on CS1 retention: Mixed but promising

This blog post at Technology Review caught my eye. The post itself is disappointing.  They make claims (like the below) that are NOT made by the paper.  The figure is right, but the claim is too strong.

The paper actually does a really good job of making the claim carefully.  ONE of the semesters where they used the robots had a dramatic rise in retention rates, but not another. Comparing the study YEAR to previous years doesn’t show a significant difference in retention rate.  However, that one semester is promising and well worth continued exploration.

The results were profound: retention rates for the 2009 computer science classes in which the Finch was used shown below, in red increased by 25 percent.

via Technology Review: Blogs: Guest Blog: Robots Make Computer Science Fun Again.

July 20, 2010 at 11:10 am Leave a comment

The Creativity Crisis – Newsweek

For the last 20 years, Americans have been getting less creative — measurably.  What’s most interesting to me is the argument that creativity can be taught.  That’s pretty important for computing where innovative uses for technology are being invented daily.

Kyung Hee Kim at the College of William & Mary discovered this in May, after analyzing almost 300,000 Torrance scores of children and adults. Kim found creativity scores had been steadily rising, just like IQ scores, until 1990. Since then, creativity scores have consistently inched downward. “It’s very clear, and the decrease is very significant,” Kim says. It is the scores of younger children in America—from kindergarten through sixth grade—for whom the decline is “most serious.”

The good news is that creativity training that aligns with the new science works surprisingly well. The University of Oklahoma, the University of Georgia, and Taiwan’s National Chengchi University each independently conducted a large-scale analysis of such programs. All three teams of scholars concluded that creativity training can have a strong effect. “Creativity can be taught,” says James C. Kaufman, professor at California State University, San Bernardino.

via The Creativity Crisis – Newsweek.

July 20, 2010 at 8:10 am 11 comments

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