Carol Frieze and Jeria Quesenberry’s book on women in computing at CMU, Kicking butt in computer science, has been in my Kindle archive for several months now. Dan Zingaro’s review in this month’s ACM Inroads is moving it up my to-read queue.
For me, the edgy title of the book promised a fiery romp through the halls of Carnegie Mellon University (CMU), wherein the stories of butt-kicking women in computer science (CS) are told. Anecdotes of successful women in CS, chronicles of their rise to butt-kicking status—this is what I expected. This is not what I got. What I got was more useful—a careful academic treatise of women in CS at CMU, and a cache of food-for-thought for anyone hoping to improve the women and computer science (women-CS) fit at their schools.
The book’s thesis is simple, if contentious—a focus on gender differences does not work; a focus on culture does.
Source: ACM Inroads: Archive
I have written individual blog posts for each paper or other contributions at conferences like ICER or SIGCSE. Then sometimes, like this year, that’s just overwhelming. So please excuse me for talking about a bunch (I may not even get all of it) of Georgia Tech related CS Education work at SIGCSE 2017 this year. (Conference website is here, and program is here. The on-line program is really nice, which is here.)
Workshop 101: GP: A General Purpose Blocks-Based Language
Wednesday 7-10 pm: Room 618-619
I’m helping to organize a workshop with John Maloney, Yoshiki Ohshima, and Jens Mönig on GP. I blogged about GP here, and about the use of GP for Media Computation in a minimal manuals structure here. The workshop will be the first SIGCSE activity with GP. The plan is to move it into a public form next summer, and the team is looking for people who want to start using it for their classes.
Panel: The Role of CS Departments in The US President’s “CS for All” Initiative
Thursday 10:45-12: Room 6E
I was part of an effort at last year’s CRA Conference at Snowbird to get CS departments to participate in President Obama’s “CS for All” initiative (see blog post here). This year, Barbara Ericson, Rick Adrion, and Megean Garvin will tell us about how their CS departments are working to promote CS for All. I’m the moderator.
EarSketch: A STEAM-based Approach for Underrepresented Populations in High School Computer Science Education
Thursday 1:45-3:00: Room 615
Brian Magerko and Jason Freeman will present on EarSketch, which I just blogged about here. They are also presenting on Creativity in Authentic STEAM Education with EarSketch on Friday 1:45-3 in Room 612. And then again Saturday 10-10:45 as a demo, EarSketch, a web-application to teach Computer Science through Music
CS Principle Ebooks for Teachers and Students building on Educational Psychology Principles
Thursday 3-4:30 pm: NSF Showcase in Exhibition Space
BOF: Researching the K–12 Computer Science Framework
Thursday 5:30-6:20 pm: Room 613-614
I’m part of a BOF led by Pat Yongpradit of Code.org with Leigh Ann DeLyser of CSNYC and Kathi Fisler at Brown. The BOF session will allow researchers to discuss opportunities in K-12 CS ed research within five areas related to the implementation and future of the framework:
- Equity and access
- Learning progressions
- Pedagogical content knowledge (Knowledge teachers need to teach CS)
- Facilitating learning in other disciplines
- Policy and implementation within K–12 education systems
Workshop 310: Using and Customizing Open-Source Runestone Ebooks for Computer Science Classes
Friday 7-10 pm: Room 612
Barb, Brad Miller, and Paul Resnick will present on the Runestone platform that we build our ebooks on. Brad built Runestone, and Paul uses and extends it frequently for his Informatics course at U. Michigan. This is the first time that they’re teaching others how to use the platform, which is a great sign of the maturation of Runestone — from researcher and early-adopters into something that all CS educators can use.
Designing and Studying of Maker Oriented Learning to Transform Advanced Computer Science
Saturday 10-11:30, NSF Showcase area in Exhibitions
Zane Cochran, a student of my colleague Betsy DiSalvo, will present some of his work on using maker spaces to improve CS education.
Concepts and Practices: Designing and Developing A Modern K12 CS Framework
Saturday 10:45-12: Room 611
My PhD student, Miranda Parker (who has been working on privilege issues and on the SCS1), and Leigh Ann Delyser (of CSNYC and CS for All fame) will present on the new K-12 CS Framework (see blog post here) and the research support for it.
Workshop 401: Evidence Based Teaching Practices in CS
Saturday 3-6 pm: Room 618-619
Briana Morrison is leading the effort with Cynthia Lee, Leo Porter, Beth Simon, and me to present CS teaching practices for which we have an evidence-base. We’re drawing a lot on our New Faculty Workshops material.
Workshop 404: How to Plan and Run Effective Teacher Professional Development
Saturday 3-6 pm: Room 612
(YES! Dueling workshops!)
Barb is working with Rebecca Dovi and Ria Galanos on how to teach CS teacher professional learning opportunities. Barb is using a lot of the material that she’s developed for “Train the Trainer” sessions as part of ECEP.
I am excited to get quoted (and correctly!) in an article about the Finnish approach to using programming to teach across the curriculum. The article gets the idea a little wrong — it’s not really about teaching CS without computers, as the title suggests. The key idea is that “Finnish children are taught to think of coding and programming more as tools to be explored and utilized across multiple subjects
Liukas pushes back at the idea that children are already tech-savvy simply because they seem to be able to navigate an iPhone intuitively. She’s particularly fond of this quote from the American computing professor Mark Guzdial:
We want students to understand what a computer can do, what a human can do, and why that’s different. To understand computing is to have a robust mental model of a notional machine.
In other words, knowing how to use something isn’t the same as understanding how it works. And because programming can be taught in so many ways, Liukas said, it can be an opportunity for kids to learn lots of related skills, such as how to collaborate, how to tell a story, and how to think creatively.
“This demands a lot from the teachers, obviously,” Liukas said during a presentation at the embassy event. This is true in the sense that incorporating coding and programming lessons across disciplines requires all kinds of educators, from the science teacher to the art teacher, to understand the basics.
The Computing Research Association has released their report on the surge in CS enrollments. They’re naming this surge “Generation CS.”
Across the United States and Canada, universities and colleges are facing a significant increase in enrollment in both undergraduate computer science (CS) courses and programs. The current enrollment surge has exceeded previous CS booms, and there is a general sense that the current growth in enrollment is substantially different than that of the mid-1980s and late 1990s. To investigate the current situation, the Computing Research Association (CRA) produced an enrollment survey to measure, assess, and better understand enrollment trends and their impact on computer science units, diversity, and more. The survey was administered in parallel with CRA’s annual Taulbee Survey of doctoral-granting units and ACM’s annual NDC Study of non-doctoral granting units in computing. Analysis of the survey is presented in a new report, “Generation CS: CS Enrollments Surge Since 2006,” available for download and online at: http://cra.org/data/generation-cs/.
There is a ton of CS Ed at SXSWEdu March 6-9. An entire list has been posted here: http://tinyurl.com/CSatSxSWedu
For Black History Month, the Google K-12 Education Outreach Team has released a 1 sheet brief that focuses exclusively on the K-12 CS experiences of Black students in the U.S. and provides specific recommendations as informed by our Diversity Gaps in Computer Science report.
Computer science (CS) education is critical in preparing students for the future. CS education not only gives students the skills they need across career fields, but it also fosters critical thinking, creativity, and innovation. This summary highlights the state of CS education during 2015–16 for Black students in 7th–12th grade, a group less likely to take the AP Computer Science Exam and with a lower pass rate on it compared to other racial groups.
My colleague, Ashok Goel, is getting a lot of (deserved) attention for exploring the role of a cognitive assistant as a teaching assistant, known as Jill Watson. The question he’s exploring is: How do we measure the effect of this assistant?
One exploration involves engagement. I thought that these numbers were interesting, because they’re comparable to the ones I explored in my information ecology paper in CSCL many years ago. 38 or 32 notes student in a 15 week class is a couple per week. That’s not a dialogue, but it might be more engagement. What should we expect? Could those couple notes per week be suggesting greater learning elsewhere? Is it an indicator?
“We’re seeing more engagement in the course. For instance, in fall of 2015 before Jill Watson, each student averaged 32 comments during the semester. This fall it was close to 38 comments per student, on average,” Goel said. “I attribute this increased involvement partly to our AI TAs. They’re able to respond to inquiries more quickly than us.”
Source: Jill Watson, Round Three