A high-level report on the state of computing education policy in US states: Access vs Participation Analyzing CS in Texas school districts: Maybe enough to take root and grow

5 Comments Add your own

  • 1. gasstationwithoutpumps  |  October 15, 2018 at 11:44 am

    ” When you get a result that you didn’t expect, when should you question the implementation of your model, and when should you realize that the results are telling you something new?” seems to have the standard computer-science excessive belief in models hard-wired into the question. There are several possibilities, not just those two:
    1) the model is poorly chosen (a poor approximation of reality), but better models are known (though they may cost more to compute or be harder to work with)
    2) the model is poorly implemented (good math, bad programming)
    3) the model has the wrong parameter values (right math, bad numbers)
    4) the experiment that the model is being compared with is flawed
    5) the expectations were set by poor thinking (often seat-of-the-pants estimates)
    6) there is some phenomenon that really had not be expected by anyone—genuinely something new.

    Although bad programming may be the most common cause of bad results in CS courses, poor choice of models, poor parameter choices, and bad experiments are probably more common outside CS courses.

    Reply
    • 2. Quinn Burke  |  October 19, 2018 at 3:08 pm

      Mark,
      Disagree with this entirely – just when districts nationally are buying into CT, academics are telling us the term is not/ was never meaningful, and we have three replacement terms instead? No, no, no.

      Reply
      • 3. Mark Guzdial  |  October 19, 2018 at 4:07 pm

        If we can’t agree on what CT is, and we can’t measure it (so we can’t tell if it’s increasing or decreasing, or if learning it helps with anything else), why should we celebrate more schools trying to teach it? Don’t we have a long list of things that we thought were true, that we pushed onto schools, and later figured out were really bad ideas (e.g., learning styles, and learning geometry or Latin as a way of learning thinking skills)? I’m in favor of schools getting access to high-quality CS education (see my blog post today). As seen in this blog post, I am also in favor of taking CT apart into things we can actually define, measure, teach, and study. I believe in evidence-based methods. I don’t have evidence to support the teaching of CT.

        Reply
        • 4. Quinn Burke  |  October 19, 2018 at 5:28 pm

          Point taken and something I am working on given that the assessments out there for CT are even numerous than the definitions. But, practically-speaking, CT is shorthand for K-8 integration rather than a nebulous concept that needs academic consensus. And this K-8 scope lets us pull back and see the big picture: working with data, algorithms, and generating models. In terms of K-8, all the other stuff sits under this trio. I have no faith that a language-agnostic measure can be developed that can track CT going up or down, akin to a thermometer. The metaphor is inherently wrong.

          Reply
          • 5. Mark Guzdial  |  October 20, 2018 at 9:20 am

            I could get behind “Computational Thinking” meaning “integrating computer science principles into K-8.” Then it would mean more like “thinking with and about computing” than “computing will change the way you think.” But if people meant the *integration* definition, they’d have to stop citing Wing, because that’s not she was saying. And it doesn’t help us to understand what CT at the high school, university, and beyond mean.

            Like Shuchi, you have a definition that works, but it’s incompatible with the other definitions. That’s why it’s a problematic term.

            Reply

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