Posts tagged ‘media literacy’

The new Core Standards for English Language Arts Literacy: Implications for Computing Literacy?

I found this fascinating discussion about the new Common Core standards efforts around English Language Arts, and it got me wondering about creating an analogy.  Are the parallels to the below for computing literacy?  “Students should read as much nonfiction as fiction.”  What does that mean in terms of the notations of computing? Students should read as many program proofs as programs?  Students should read as much code as comments?  The “coherent knowledge” part seems to connect to the kinds of ideas in the CS:Principles effort.  What is “close reading” of programming?

I’m sure that there are not one-to-one mappings from English Language Arts to Computing, but they are interesting to think about.  If this is what it means to be text literate, what does it mean to be computing literate?

Say what you will about CCSS, but there are three big ideas embedded within the English Language Arts standards that deserve to be at the very heart of literacy instruction in U.S. classrooms, with or with or without standards themselves:

1. Students should read as much nonfiction as fiction.

2. Schools should ensure all children—and especially disadvantaged children—build coherent background knowledge that is essential to mature reading comprehension.

3. Success in reading comprehension depends less on “personal response” and more on close reading of text.

via Meet the Children Where They Are…and Keep Them There « The Core Knowledge Blog.

June 7, 2012 at 6:30 am 6 comments

CS students need to learn to use Powerpoint effectively

Rich DeMillo has a great story about visiting alumni (with our current Dean, Zvi Galil) and being told that they wished that they had learned how to use Powerpoint better. It’s a story about communications, but in particular, about visual communications and making a point simply.

Zvi ask someone at the end of the table, “What’s the one thing you wish we had taught you?”

The answer came back immediately: “I wish I had learned how to make an effective PowerPoint™ presentation!” If the answer had been “more math” or “better writing skills” I would have filed it away in my mental catalog of ways to tweak our degree programs. It’s a constant struggle in a requirement-laden technical curriculum — even one as flexible as our Threads program — to get enough liberal arts, basic science, and business credits into a four year program, so I was prepared to hear that these young engineers wanted to know more about American history, geology, or accounting. After all, I am a former dean. I had heard it all before.

But PowerPoint? Everything came to a stop. Zvi said, “PowerPoint!” It was an exclamation, not a question. Here’s how the rest of the conversation unfolded” “Look, the first thing I had to do was start making budget presentations. I had no idea how to make a winning argument.” From the across the table: ” Yeah, we learned how to make technical presentations, but nobody warned us that we’d have to make our point to a boss who didn’t care about the technology.” “It’s even worse where I work,” said a young woman. “Everybody in the room has a great technology to push. I needed to know how to say why mine should be the winner.” And so it went. This was not a PowerPoint discussion. We were talking about Big Animal Pictures. If you understand Big Animal Pictures, you understand how to survive when worlds collide.

via Big Animal Pictures « WWC.

July 1, 2011 at 12:41 am 11 comments

The Molecular Workbench™ Platform

The most interesting software that my educational technology class discovered this last Spring was the Molecular Workbench from the Concord Consortium.  The enormous range of material and the power of their modeling package (used in teaching chemistry, biology, and physics) is impressive.  Unfortunately, it doesn’t work on the iPad, and there’s not really much there for mathematics or computer science learning.  It does serve as an interesting standard for what these kinds of tools might look like.  The Molecular Workbench aims to be a medium for science learning.

MW is not just a collection of simulations–do not be deceived by first glance. While it presents many existing simulations that are ready to use in classroom, it is, however, also a modeling tool for teachers and students to create their own simulations and share them with collaborators. There are very sophisticated modeling capacities hidden behind its simple user interface that empower you to create new simulations and even explore the unknowns.

via The Home Page of the Molecular Workbench™ Software.

July 14, 2010 at 10:16 am 6 comments


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