Guzdial off to ITICSE in Germany: Computing for Everyone, and CS Pedagogy with MediaComp

June 24, 2011 at 11:34 am 2 comments

I am leaving tomorrow afternoon for Frankfurt, Germany, and from there to Darmstadt for the ACM SIGCSE ITICSE 2011 conference.  I’m giving the last day keynote talk (Wednesday), on Technology for Teaching the Rest of Us — it’s a variation on my “Computing for Everyone” talk, where I emphasize the kinds of technology we might build to help us to reach universal computational literacy.

The motivated student is easy to teach. You facilitate learning and get out of the way. It’s much more challenging to teach the student who is less motivated, or who needs knowledge to support their main interest. Think of the graphics designer who chooses to learn scripting to make their job easier, but doesn’t want to learn to “program” and whose many (simple) mistakes cost valuable time. Think of the secondary-school business teacher who wants to teach computer science, but who doesn’t want to learn to be a professional programmer. The number of people who need some knowledge of a domain may be much greater than those who need expertise in that domain. Providing learning opportunities tailored to the needs and interests of the learner, potentially motivating that interest where necessary, is a great and important challenge in an increasingly technological society. My talk will describe characteristics of these challenges and suggest where computing technologies and computing education research insights may provide solutions.

On Wednesday, afternoon I’m driving to Aachen University with Ulrik Schroeder, who is giving the opening keynote for ITICSE.  Ulrik has asked me to speak on Thursday about innovative CS pedagogy, and I’ve decided to give one of my favorite overview MediaComp lectures, on how most of CS can be accessed through a context like CS and talk about results at Georgia Tech, UCSD, U Ill-Chicago, and Gainesville College: Using Digital Media to Motivate Learning about Computer Science. I plan to use some pedagogical techniques that I want to emphasize: Live coding and peer instruction (with thanks.

Today’s students live in a world filled with digital media, from listening to music in digital form, viewing YouTube videos, and sharing digital photographs. If we teach computer science in terms of only numbers and words, we seem old-fashioned and out-of-touch. Our students understand computing as being primarily about digital media. In this talk, I will present tools and technique for teaching computer science through manipulation and creation of digital media. I will present some research results showing the effectiveness of these techniques at improving student engagement and retention.

I’ll be back on Friday July 1.  I’m running the Peachtree 10K road race on the Fourth of July — I’ve had a number each of the last three years, but keep injuring myself just before, so I have my fingers crossed that I’m going to make it!  On July 5, Barb and I are speaking at the Tennessee Tech University event, TTU-Tapestry.

In case I don’t have time to write blog posts next week, I already have a week and half’s worth stored up.  But I don’t know what my connectivity is going to be like until July 6.  Please excuse some ebbs in the ComputingEd flow.

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Shrinking our turf: Defining CS out of Interaction Design It’s about getting more people in CS, of all types, and social media helps

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