What research will you do for #CSforAll? White House call for commitments Growing Computer Science Education Into a STEM Education Discipline: November CACM

6 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Andy "SuperFly" Rundquist  |  November 4, 2016 at 8:55 am

    This really has me thinking. All the lines about teaching innovation, disruption, etc come out of my mouth (as a physics professor) all the time. I’m also working with a group of students developing web apps, though, and while we’re trying to solve some problems on campus (simple apps to make student/faculty/staff lives easier), I hope the students also learn about how to work collectively on a big code project and how to come into a project that’s already a ways down the road but still contribute. I wonder how I could think about my physics classes in a similar way.

    My #NaBloCoMo question for you: Is this a partial defense for physics curriculum to be teaching centuries-old concepts instead of focusing on the newest ideas? The joke in physics education circles is that the ubiquitous course “Modern Physics” isn’t modern at all. But it seems we teach it because students need that foundation. What this post has me thinking is that students need to be “exploring, developing, and understanding what we have at-hand.” That feels half(or less)-baked right now but I thought I’d throw it out. Thanks for the great post!

  • 2. thinkingwiththings  |  November 4, 2016 at 12:15 pm

    Mark, you have said most articulately what I’ve been thinking for quite a while now. Although I’m a social scientist, I work a lot across the disciplines with CS and Engineering faculty (and students) in particular. We have a good new entrepreneurship program, run by people who understand that it’s not always the flashy new widget that is best (a recent team that won the top prize was focused on hunger on campus and a system to address this). Still, we have a “cult of innovation” in our culture at the moment, and it continues to contribute to massive wastefulness. (CS folks MUST also attend to the problems of electronic waste, which is highly toxic. See http://svtc.org/)

    I do see much to be hopeful about, though. I teach a lot of millennials (and am mother to two more) and I notice a trend in the maker world toward repair (for example, repair cafes) and mending (particularly of garments). I see a new ethos emerging and hope we can encourage that. You point me toward some really good resources on this–thanks.

  • 3. Bonnie  |  November 4, 2016 at 12:52 pm

    One of the most important factors in being able to successfully maintain software is whether that software was well designed, using good software engineering practices, to start with. That is why I believe it is very important to teach students good design practice and good testing practices, as they learn to program. I think the current rush to teach students to “code” (a term I find more and more abhorrent as time goes on) leads to a lack of emphasis on sound design. Software developers shouldn’t be “coding”, they should be designing, refactoring, and testing.

  • 4. Bob Kahn  |  November 8, 2016 at 8:19 am

    I have been following your blog since July when I came across a post about Logo. I am teaching a new middle school CS class using MicroWorlds and it it going well, even though I have no formal background in CS.

    I find this post particularly compelling. If we push innovation, it seems to me that we set many students up for failure because not all will be able to innovate. If we add repair or maintenance or improvement, we provide many more opportunities for students to explore, learn and be successful. It also gives them something to start from. and may lead to innovation more naturally. Reading your post, reminds me of how many teachers/educators attempt to motivate students by telling them “you will need this in the future” or some variation thereof, or “many of the jobs that people your generation are going to have haven’t been invented yet.” What are students supposed to do with these types of statements? They ignore the present, the now, and have been shown to demotivate students. It seems to me that to always talk about innovation sort of does the same thing. We have a motto at our school “shape a future with meaning.” I think “shape a NOW with meaning,” is more beneficial and would result in a future with meaning if enough meaningful “nows” happen.

  • 5. Overvaluing innovation | Gas station without pumps  |  November 11, 2016 at 1:43 pm

    […] Guzdial, in We overvalue innovation and entrepreneurship: Shifting the focus to Maintenance over Fads, points […]

  • 6. Resources added to Diigo (weekly) | Beth Holland  |  November 12, 2016 at 7:37 pm

    […] We overvalue innovation and entrepreneurship: Shifting the focus to Maintenance over Fads | Computin… […]


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