Archive for August 27, 2018

A Guide to Teaching Computing to Adults in Informal Settings

Greg Wilson is a pioneer and a visionary. He saw an education problem and invented an organization to address it. The problem he’s addressing is that scientists, engineers, and other professionals (what he called “free-range learners”) are discovering that they need computing, but aren’t going to be taking formal classes on-campus. Greg co-founded “Software Carpentry” to offer workshops to adults that addresses their needs. I care about this problem, too, and am amazed at and impressed with how much Greg has grown Software Carpentry.

He has recently published an online text on how to teach technology in these settings. You can find it here. It’s more than just a how-to. Greg recognizes the value of drawing on the research on education, and computing education specifically. Greg explains why he makes these recommendations with lots of references to research literature, including some of my favorite work that I mention regularly here.

I want to make clear that it’s not a general guide for computing educators. There’s little here for K-12 teachers — this is about teaching adults. Few of the kinds of things that we teach in our New Faculty Workshops about active learning in the classroom are here. Still, there’s a lot here that CS faculty will find valuable and will learn from.

Teaching Tech Together

Hundreds of grassroots groups have sprung up around the world to teach programming, web design, robotics, and other skills to free-range learners outside traditional classrooms. These groups exist so that people don’t have to learn these things on their own, but ironically, their founders and instructors are often teaching themselves how to teach.

There’s a better way. Just as knowing a few basic facts about germs and nutrition can help you stay healthy, knowing a few things about psychology, instructional design, inclusivity, and community organization can help you be a more effective teacher. This book presents evidence-based practices you can use right now, explains why we believe they are true, and points you at other resources that will help you go further. Its four sections cover:

• how people learn;

• how to design lessons that work;

• how to deliver those lessons; and

• how to grow a community of practice around teaching.

Find more at:

August 27, 2018 at 7:00 am Leave a comment

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