Posts tagged ‘computing education’
Last month, NSF hosted a STEM Education video showcase. I was surprised at how much I enjoyed and learned from these. They’re only 3 minutes each, so it’s a brief investment in getting a sense of a project — and there are a lot of interesting projects here. Here are some of my notes on what I found that was cool:
- You can find the CS education videos here, but there’s a lot more relevant stuff beyond that category, like the videos on integrating STEM and CS.
- Jill Denner’s video on the Digital NEST changed my mind about the role of informal education in broadening participation in computing. I’ve worried that afterschool computer clubs and MakerSpaces are mostly for the privileged (as in this blog post). Jill’s video was a compelling picture Hispanic/Latino/a youth in technology education.
- Learning scientists are increasingly exploring the role of embodiment in learning. The project on integrating dance and CS was the first example that I’ve seen in how to do this in CS — exciting work!
- I was pleased to see Sarah Wille’s work on providing computing education to students with learning disabilities. It’s a really important area that we need for CS for All. I have worked with Sarah on BASICS and didn’t know about this project.
- Celine Latulipe had a video on her lightweight teams that she uses in a Media Computation class (yay!) which is a short version of her SIGCSE 2016 paper.
- Sara Dunton did a great job organizing the ECEP video.
There are a lot more great videos, but I’ll stop there. Highly recommended viewing!
Medieval guilds were associations of craftsmen who carefully protected who had could practice the craft. In the end, they faded away because (as Wikipedia describes), “the guilds negatively affected quality, skills, and innovation.” The economy grew after the guilds faded away.
The below linked article in TechCrunch is an example of programming craftsmen protecting their turf, the way that the guilds did hundreds of years ago. I have responded to some of these complaints before, like the one that suggested that people should just be users and not programmers. “You can’t do it as well as we can” and “you’ll just make a mess of it” are the kinds of complaints that professionals have made over the centuries to keep others from adopting their practice. Of course, both of those are correct statements, as they are true whenever you’re talking about learners. They are correctable problems.
The below quote is particularly aggravating because it says that programming is only right for a certain “type of person.” For the technology industry, that usually equates to privileged white or Asian males.
When has it ever worked to say, “You shouldn’t learn X” especially if X is valuable and useful?
Don’t get me wrong; I do believe that engineering and programming are important skills. But only in the right context, and only for the type of person willing to put in the necessary blood, sweat and tears to succeed. The same could be said of many other skills. I would no more urge everyone to learn to program than I would urge everyone to learn to plumb.
As readers of this blog know, I started in computing education working in Logo. My first published paper ever was at Logo84, the International Logo Conference at MIT, and an early paper I wrote on using Logo to teach music to young children is still available. I did a post here on all the great interdisciplinary curricula that existed for Logo. There are still Logo workshops available for teachers, and there are slots open for this summer.
The Logo Summer Institute is an intensive workshop in creative computing for K12 teachers, parents, and technology integrators. Our project-based approach supports computational thinking and STEAM learning and teaching. The program is highly individualized to accommodate novices as well as more experienced participants, teachers of different subjects, and those who work in informal settings as well as in classrooms.Learn to code as you explore and create projects using Scratch, Makey Makey, Hummingbird, Arduino, LEGO and a many other hardware and software platforms.The Logo Summer Institute provides a relaxed atmosphere with a small group of colleagues and a great deal of personal attention from experienced workshop leaders. We have a low participant to facilitator ratio and daily advisory meetings to insure that participants’ individual needs are met.
I’ve known Dan Hickey for many years, and got to spend some time with him at Indiana when I visited there a couple years ago. He’s dealing with an issue in this blog post that is critical to CS Education. If we want students to value computing, it has to be valued and promoted in their families and communities. How do we get engagement at a beyond-school level in computing education?
These issues of trajectories and non-participation in STEM learning have personal relevance for me and my own family. I was quite pleased a few years ago when my son Lucas enrolled in a computer programming class in high school. I never learned to program myself and these days it I find it quite a handicap. While I bought an Apple II+ computer in 1982 (!) and taught myself BASIC, an instructional technology professor discouraged me from delving too deeply into technology or programming (because “it changes too often”). While I still want to learn how to code, my non-participation in programming clearly helped define my trajectory towards a Ph.D in Psychology and satisfying career as a Learning Scientist.Unfortunately, the curriculum in my son’s programming class was like the typical secondary computer science instruction that Mark Guzdial chronicles in his Computing Education blog. The coding worksheets seemed to have been haphazardly created to match various videos located on the web. My son wanted to use the much more professional videos and exercises that we were able to access via my university’s account at Lynda.com, but his teacher insisted that my son complete the worksheets as well (so teacher could grade them).
Betsy Bizot at Computing Research Association (CRA) dug into the question that I posed about CS PhD’s, and came up with these answers. Thanks, Betsy!
Percentages are computed from those who answered the question about their postdoctoral status, about 90% of all SED respondents. They include those who said they were returning to or continuing with predoctoral employment, or who have a definite commitment for employment or postdoctoral study. Those who were negotiating with one or more possible employers were not counted.
Values in the Engineering column are from Doctorate Recipients from U.S. Universities: 2014 (for the 2004 and 2009 figures) and Doctorate Recipients from U.S. Universities: 2013 (for the 2013 figure), Table 42, National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics, available from the “data” tab at http://www.nsf.gov/statistics/srvydoctorates/ These were reported in Mark Guzdial’s Computing Education Blog https://computinged.wordpress.com/2016/05/04/what-really-happens-to-new-cs-phds-starving-the-beast/
Values in the Computer Science column are computed using data from the Survey of Earned Doctorates licensed to the Computing Research Association through the National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics at the National Science Foundation. The use of NSF data does not imply NSF endorsement of the research methods or conclusions contained in this report. Licensing of this data was supported by grant B2014-12 from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation
This is a really cool announcement. I believe that computing helps with all kinds of STEM learning, and admire the work at Northwestern on Agent Based Learning in STEM, Project GUTS, and Bootstrap. It’s particularly important for getting CS into schools, since so few schools will have dedicated CS teachers for many years yet (as described here for Georgia). I’m excited to see that Bootstrap will be moving into Physics as well as Algebra.
Bootstrap, one of the nation’s leading computer science literacy programs, co-directed by Brown CS faculty members Shriram Krishnamurthi and Kathi Fisler (adjunct), continues to extend its reach. Bootstrap has just announced a partnership to use its approach to building systems to teach modeling in physics, an important component of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). This project is a collaboration with STEMTeachersNYC, the American Association of Physics Teachers, and the American Modeling Teachers Association.
These are the right sort of questions to be asking, and then using when creating real programs. How would we get more undergraduate computing majors to consider teaching? We can’t do much about salary. Free tuition and student loan forgiveness are feasible and could result in many more teachers (and are being explored by ECEP states).
CERP asked undergraduate computing majors what would increase their interest in becoming a middle or high school computing teacher. As seen in the above graphic, financial incentive in the form of a higher teaching salary, free tuition for teacher training, and forgiven student loans were the top factors increasing students’ interest in becoming a middle or high school computing teacher. These findings provide insights into how to generate more computing educators for the K-12 school system, which is becoming increasingly important, given recent efforts to promote widespread K-12 computing education.