Posts tagged ‘computational media’
I’m an advisor on the EarSketch project, and it’s really cool. Recommended.
Next month, the EarSketch team will be offering a workshop at SIGCSE in Kansas City. This is a great opportunity to learn more about EarSketch, get hands on experience with the curriculum and environment, and learn how to use EarSketch in your classroom. This year’s workshop will also offer advice on integrating EarSketch into Computer Science Principles courses, though the workshop is of relevance to anyone teaching an introductory computing course.
For more information about SIGCSE, visit http://sigcse2015.sigcse.org/index.html
To register for the workshop, please visit https://www.regonline.com/register/login.aspx?eventID=1618015&MethodId=0&EventsessionId=
Please contact Jason Freeman (firstname.lastname@example.org) with any questions.
Workshop #20: Computer Science Principles with EarSketch
Saturday, March 7th, 2015
3 pm – 6 pm
Jason Freeman, Georgia Institute of Technology
Brian Magerko, Georgia Institute of Technology
Regis Verdin, Georgia Institute of Technology
If you’re in the New Jersey area on Tuesday December 9:
Library & Information Science Department Guest Lecture, open to the Rutgers Community….
Dr. Mark Guzdial and Barbara Ericson
Scholarly Communication Center at Alexander Library (4th Floor lecture hall)
Tuesday, 12/9/2014, 12-1:30pm
Title: Creative Expression to Motivate Interest in Computing
Abstract: Efforts in the US to promote learning about computer science and computational thinking emphasize the vocational benefits. Research on end-user programming suggests that for every professional software developer in the United States, there are four more professionals who program as part of doing their job. Efforts in other countries (UK, Denmark, New Zealand) instead emphasize the value of computing as a rigorous discipline providing insight into our world. We offer a third motivation: computing as a powerful medium for creative expression. We have used computational media to motivate children to study computing, to go beyond thinking about “geeks” in computing. We use media computation to encourage teachers and introductory students at college. The approach draws in a different audience than we normally get in computer science The BS in Computational Media at Georgia Tech is the most gender-balanced, ABET-accredited undergraduate computing degree in the United States. We use these examples to paint a picture of using creative expression to motivate interest in computing.
- Mark Guzdial is a Professor in the School of Interactive Computing at Georgia Tech. He is a learning scientist who focuses on computing education research. He invented the Media Computation approach to teaching introductory computing. He serves on the ACM’s Education Council, and is on the editorial boards of the “Journal of the Learning Sciences,” “ACM Transactions on Computing Education,” and “Communications of the ACM.” With his wife and colleague, Barbara Ericson, he received the 2010 ACM Karlstrom Outstanding Educator award. He was also the recipient of the 2012 IEEE Computer Society Undergraduate Teaching Award.
- Barbara Ericson is the Director of Computing Outreach and a Senior Research Scientist for the College of Computing at Georgia Tech. She has worked at Georgia Tech to increase the quantity and quality of secondary computing teachers and the quantity and diversity of computing students since 2004. She is currently also pursuing a Human-Centered Computing PhD at Georgia Tech. She has co-authored four books on Media Computation. She was the winner of the 2012 A. Richard Newton Educator Award. She has served on the CSTA’s Board of Directors, the Advanced Placement Computer Science Development Committee, and the NCWIT executive committee for the K-12 Alliance.
After my post claiming that Georgia Tech’s Computational Media program is the most gender-balanced, ABET-accredited computing undergraduate degree program in the United States, I had several people ask, “But that’s enrollment. Do the women graduate? Do they stick with the program?” My sense was that they did, but I asked our College data person, Elijah Cameron, and he sent me the below. Last year, BS in Computational Media graduates were over 40% female. Pretty good.
Here’s another take on the “Computing for Everyone” theme that is near and dear to me. I’ve been exploring this idea in my talks and papers, here in the blog, and all starting from our Media Computation work. This theme starts from a different question than CS: Principles, which is asking what should everyone learn about computing. The Mozilla-as-teacher post is suggesting why everyone should learn “coding” (here, including HTML coding, vs. programming): to make the Web better.
It’s a reasonable answer, in the sense that universal literacy makes the world of letters better. But how does it make it better? For me, I’m still attracted to the innovation argument: we use code as a medium to say, share, and test ideas that we can’t in other media. That communication, sharing, and debugging of ideas leads to more and better ideas, which results in innovation — new ideas, new extensions of those ideas, new implementations of those ideas. That’s why it’s important to strive towards near-universal computing literacy, at least with respect to knowledge workers, which is why it’s important to require computing in college.
There are other arguments, too. Another powerful reason for universal computing literacy is that it’s about knowing the world we live in. Why do we teach students the periodic table and the difference between meiosis and mitosis? It’s mostly not because of job skills. It’s because people live in a world where chemistry and biology matter. Today, we all live in a world where computing matters. Knowing about the inherent limitations of digital representations is more important to most people’s daily lives than knowing about meiosis and mitosis.
Now, if you buy all that: How do we get there?
This has been the premise behind much of what we have done with Mozilla Drumbeat: people who make stuff on the internet are better creators and better online citizens if they know at least a little bit about the web’s basic building blocks. Even if they only learn a little HTML, the web gets better.
I am now the Director of our Computational Media undergraduate program. (I had the gig three years ago, and it’s circled back around on me.) One of my jobs is to help answer the questions from the industrial recruiters, “What do your students know?” Below are the questions that I just got from one of bigger, more well-known companies in this space. Reminds me alot of the situative issues raised earlier in this blog. They’re not asking what subjects or concepts, but what tools and in what contexts (e.g., Java for client vs. Java for server).
What experience will the students have with:
• Engineering? C, C++…
• Mobile? Objective C, iOS, Android…
• Server? Java, JBOSS, Jetty, Tomcat…
• Networking? MySQL/SQL/Database, TCP/IP, Unix, Linux, etc…
• Tools? C#…
• Scripting? Python, Ruby, Bash, Perl, etc…
Do come to C5! You can skip my talk, since readers of this blog already know pretty much everything I’d have to say. I’m looking forward to the conference!
The 10th International Conference on Creating,
Connecting and Collaborating through Computing (C5 2012)
18-20 January 2012
Playa Vista, CA USA
Hosted by the USC Institute for Creative Technologies
Computers, networks, and other forms of technology are pervasive in our
information-based society. Unfortunately, most users of this technology use
it for passive consumption of information and entertainment. To evolve into a
true knowledge society it is critical that we transform computer-based human
activities to engage users in the active process of creating, connecting, and
The C5 conference is for anyone interested in the use of computers as tools to
develop and enable user-oriented creation, connection, and collaboration
processes. Researchers, developers, educators and users come together at C5
to present new and ongoing work and to discuss future directions for creative
computing and multimedia environments. We welcome the submission of
theoretical and technical papers, practitioner/experience reports, and papers
that bridge the gap between theory and practice or that encourage inter- and
=== Keynote Speakers ===
“Helping Everyone Create with Computing”
Dr. Mark Guzdial
Georgia Institute of Technology
“C2P3: Creating and Controlling Personalisation
and Privacy in Pervasive Digital Ecosystems”
Dr. Judy Kay
University of Sydney
=== Topics ===
C5 invites submissions of full papers in (but not limited to) the following
– Technology-enhanced human-computer and human-human interaction
– Virtual worlds and immersive environments
– Educational environments for classroom, field work and online/distance
– New technologies for literature, music and the visual arts
– Technologies for collaborative and self-empowered learning
– Multimedia authoring environments
– Gaming/entertainment platforms, virtual characters, and software
– Social networks and social networking
– Novel programming paradigms and languages for implementors
– Scripting or visual paradigms and languages for end-users
– Creating and maintaining online communities
– Tools for creating/managing online services/environments
– Distributed and collaborative working
– Social and cultural implications of new technologies
Papers should be submitted electronically in PDF format via EasyChair at:
Submissions must be written in English (the official language of the
conference) and must not exceed eight (8) pages. They should use the IEEE
10-point two-column format, templates for which are available at:
=== Proceedings ===
A preliminary version of the proceedings will be distributed during the
conference. The formal version of the proceedings will be published by the
Conference Publishing Services (CPS) and sent to authors after the conference.
For each accepted paper, at least one of the authors needs to attend the
conference and deliver the presentation; otherwise the paper will not be
included in the formal proceedings.
=== Dates ===
Submission of papers: October 7, 2011
Author notification: November 18, 2011
Camera-ready copy: December 16, 2011
Conference: January 18-20, 2012
Still trying to dig out from under the grading pile — it’s finals week here at Georgia Tech, and grades are due Monday at noon. My TA for Media Computation data structures had to leave the semester a couple weeks early, so I just finished catching up on all the grading (programming homework, quizzes, and final exam) for that class yesterday. I also have 40 students in a Senior Design class, so I’m deep into reviewing project documentation, design diagrams, and personal reflections on their process.
I’ve had a theme arise from both classes in the last couple days that is worth mentioning here.
Theme: I got a lovely note from one of my MediaComp DS students reflecting on his time in the class. (As a teacher, it’s an enormous boost to get one of these — even when critical, it affirms your job as a teacher: “Someone was listening!”) Against the recommendations of his advisors, he took my class and the follow-up intro to Java course concurrently, which means that he only gets elective credit for my course. But it gave him the opportunity to compare the two courses, which is pretty interesting for me. Besides these two CS courses, he was taking a course in combinatorics. He saw my course as the “glue” which combined the ideas of the three courses.
The concepts you introduced formed essential links with material from my other classes to illustrate the harmony of what I considered three more or less independent studies (for a long time I considered <MediaComp DS class> and <intro-to-Java> very different other than their shared use of Java, with one being the “general programming class” and the other being the “media and simulation programming class”).
What I found most intriguing was that he saw the MediaComp DS course as being the more “theoretical” course. Of course, any data structures course deals with theory issues more than a simple introduction to programming. But because this course included simulation, we also dug into probability distributions and continuous/discrete-event issues which connected to combinatorics and statistics in interesting ways. In a real sense, that made the MediaComp DS course harder than the introduction to Java course.
Recapitulation: One of my Senior Design teams refactored some code for our Physics department. Physics at Georgia Tech uses VPython in several labs. The physicists found that some of the code that the students had to write (to simulate a falling object, to graph data, etc.) was clumsy and had students struggling with parameterization issues.
My Senior Computational Media students, well-versed in HCI as they are, wanted to create a GUI for a Physics simulation. The Physics teachers (to their credit, in my opinion!) insisted on having their students write code. They explicitly wanted their Physics students to deal with “computational thinking” (their term, which may mean something different than others). So, the team created a nice set of objects, rather than the umpteen functions that students had to use previously. The Physics teachers are thrilled — the team did a very good job. But in their reflections, my Seniors are still complaining that they’d prefer to have built GUIs. “It would have been easier on the Physics students.”
I agree, a GUI-based simulation would have been easier on the Physics students. The students also would have learned less. They would have had less flexibility. The Physics teachers wanted the interface to VPython to be usable — to be understandable and to focus on the Physics and on the representational issues (e.g., how do you want to represent a vector to be useful?). While harder than a GUI, the Physics teachers felt that the code helped achieve their learning goals better. It’s not always about make things easier.