Posts tagged ‘learning sciences’

In STEM Courses, a Gender Gap in Online Class Discussions: What drives collaboration?

It’s not surprising that men and women participate differently in online class discussions.  I’m disappointed that the interpretations of the results are not grounded in the literature on collaborative learning.  We know something about why people might not want to participate in an online forum (as I wrote about in a previous blog post).

Company officials argued that the differences in behavior by gender represent a “gap in confidence” between women and men enrolled in the courses. It’s a phenomenon that has long interested the company’s founder, Pooja Sankar, who says she felt isolated as one of only a few women studying computer science at a university in India and was too shy to collaborate with male classmates.

Based on reports from hundreds of students and professors who use Piazza, “we know that students answer questions more when they feel more confident,” Ms. Gilmartin said. “We know that they use the anonymity setting when they feel less confident.”

via In STEM Courses, a Gender Gap in Online Class Discussions – Wired Campus – Blogs – The Chronicle of Higher Education.

February 13, 2015 at 7:11 am Leave a comment

Earn your Human-Centered Computing PhD at Georgia Tech: Applications due Dec 15

Georgia Tech founded the very first HCC degree program in 2004, focusing on the intersection of computing and people – where computing includes not just computers but also different kinds of computational artifacts from games to mobile applications, from robots to bionics and mobile applications; and people includes not only individuals but also teams, organizations, societies and cultures.

Join our 29 faculty in working across the HCC spectrum: learning sciences & technologies, computing education, artificial intelligence, cognitive science, collaboration, design, human-computer interaction, health & wellness, informatics, information visualization & visual analytics, international development, learning sciences & technology, social computing, and ubiquitous & wearable computing.

Join our 39 students, all doing research in one of three broad areas: Cognition, Learning & Creativity, Human-Computer Interaction, and Social Computing. We value diversity in all its dimensions; our students have a broad range of backgrounds, coming from across the world and with a variety of different and undergraduate degrees.

Join a vibrant community of faculty and graduate students that encompasses not just the HCC PhD but also the PhDs in Digital Media, Computer Science with specialization in HCI, Psychology with specializations in Engineering Psychology and Cognitive Aging, Music Technology, and Industrial Design, and the interdisciplinary GVU Center with its multitude of research labs.

Join, upon graduation, our alumni who have academic or research careers at Adobe Research, CMU, Drexel, Georgetown, Georgia Tech, Google, Kaiser Permanente, Kaltura, U. Maryland, U. Michigan, Michigan State, U. Minnesota, Oak Ridge National Labs, Northeastern, Penn State, Rose Hulman, Samsung, Sassafras, U. Washington, US Military Academy and Virginia Tech.

Our curriculum is flexible, allowing considerable customizing based on individual interests: three core courses, three specialization courses and three minor courses. You get involved with research during your first semester, and never stop!

Students receive tuition and a competitive stipend during their studies; outstanding US students are eligible for the President’s Fellowship.

Applications are due December 15; see http://www.ic.gatech.edu/future/phdhcc for additional program and application information.

November 19, 2014 at 1:16 pm Leave a comment

The Open Source Identity Crisis, limiting the potential for legitimate peripheral participation

An interesting new piece on identity within the open source community.  Noah Slater addresses a concern that I have, that the definition of contribution in open source communities limits the opportunity for legitimate peripheral participation.

Perhaps the most obvious way in which the hacker identity has a hold over the open source identity is this notion that you have to code to contribute to open source. Much like technical talent is centered in the tech industry, code is seen as the one true way to contribute. This can be such a powerful idea that documentation, design, marketing, and so on are often seen as largely irrelevant. And even when this isn’t the case, they are seen as second class skills. For many hackers, open source is an escape from professional environments where collaboration with these “lesser”, more “mainstream” activities is mandatory.

via The Open Source Identity Crisis, by Noah Slater | Model View Culture.

September 17, 2014 at 8:37 am 3 comments

Moving from Scratch to text: Why We Need Sniff

I’m intrigued by this project and would really love to see some analysis.  Do students who use Scratch recognize Sniff as being a text form of Scratch?  If it doesn’t work well, is the problem in the syntax and semantics of Sniff, and maybe we could do better?  Do students transfer their knowledge of Scratch into Sniff?

So if Scratch is so great why do we need Sniff? The problem is that at some point you need to move beyond Scratch. It could be that you want to tackle a different kind of problem that Scratch can’t handle well. Perhaps you’ve realised that graphical programming is a nice idea, and great way to start, but in practise its clumsy. Clicking and dragging blocks is a tedious and slow way to build large programs. It could be you need something that feels “more grown up” – the cat sprite/logo is cute, and even older children will find it fun for a while, but Scratch is designed to look and feel like a toy even though its actually very powerful. For whatever reason at some point you start to look for something “better”.

via Sniff: Why We Need Sniff.

August 29, 2014 at 8:39 am 15 comments

Should Coding be the “New Foreign Language” Requirement?

I don’t agree that learning a foreign language is as useful as learning a programming language, especially in terms of increased communication capability (so I wouldn’t see it as equivalent to a foreign language requirement). I see learning a foreign language as far more important and useful.  It is interesting to think about cognitive effects of learning programming that might be similar to the cognitive effects of learning another human language.

Learning a language increases perception. Multilingual students are better at observing their surroundings. They can focus on important information and exclude information that is less relevant. They’re also better at spotting misleading data. Likewise, programming necessitates being able to focus on what works while eliminating bugs. Foreign language instruction today emphasizes practical communication — what students can do with the language. Similarly, coding is practical, empowering and critical to the daily life of everyone living in the 21st century.

via Should Coding be the “New Foreign Language” Requirement? | Edutopia.

January 21, 2014 at 1:27 am 15 comments

Musicians’ First Teachers: What can educators do to sustain interest?

What can the teacher do to inculcate interest?  What responsibility does the teacher have to sustain interest?  If there is a way to teach that can be effective, don’t teachers have a moral obligation to teach that way?

In general, findings from studies of interest suggest that educators can (a) help students sustain attention for tasks even when tasks are challenging—this could mean either providing support so that students can experience a triggered situational interest or feedback that allows them to sustain attention so that they can generate their own curiosity questions; (b) provide opportunities for students to ask curiosity questions; and (c) select or create resources that promote problem solving and strategy generation.

via Musicians’ First Teachers « Annie Murphy Paul.

January 15, 2014 at 1:27 am 1 comment

What Sir Ken Got Wrong, and what the blogger got wrong too

Really interesting blog post, dissecting the mistakes made in a very popular TED talk.

Sir Ken’s ideas aren’t just impractical; they are undesirable. Here’s the trouble with his arguments:

1. Talent, creativity and intelligence are not innate, but come through practice.

2. Learning styles and multiple intelligences don’t exist.

3. Literacy and numeracy are the basis for creativity.

4. Misbehaviour is a bigger problem in our schools than conformity.

5. Academic achievement is vital but unequal, partly because…

6. Rich kids get rich cultural knowledge, poor kids don’t.

via What Sir Ken Got Wrong | Pragmatic Education.

I don’t completely agree with all of Pragmatic Education’s arguments.

  • Intelligence may not be malleable.  You can learn more knowledge, and that can come from practice.  It’s not clear that fluid intelligence is improved with practice.
  • Learning styles don’t seem to exist.  Multiple intelligences?  I don’t think that the answer is as clear there.
  • Creativity comes from knowing things.  Literacy and numeracy are great ways of coming to know things.  It’s a bit strong to say that creativity comes from literacy and numeracy.
  • There are lots of reasons why rich kids are unequal to poor kids (see the issue about poverty and cognitive function.)  Cultural knowledge is just part of it.

But 90% — I think he gets what’s wrong with Sir Ken’s arguments.

November 21, 2013 at 1:30 am 3 comments

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