Posts tagged ‘summer camps’

SIGCSE 2015 Week! ECEP BOF and Ebooks and IRB and other CS Ed terms

This week is the SIGCSE 2015 Technical Symposium, the largest computing education conference in the US, perhaps in the world.  About 1300 people will be heading to Kansas City for four days of discussion, workshops, and talks.  See the conference page here and the program here.

Barbara Ericson and I will be presenting at several events:

  • I’m speaking on a panel Thursday afternoon at 3:45 on human-subjects review of experiment protocols (by Institutional Review Boards (IRB)) and the challenges we’ve had in working in high schools and working on cross-institutional projects.
  • Barb and I will be hosting with Rick Adrion a Birds of a Feather (BOF) session on state-level change at 6:30 Thursday.  This is part of our ECEP work.
  • On Friday morning at 10 am, we’ll be showing our electronic book (ebook) for high school teachers interested in learning CS Principles.  The first public showing was at the NSF BPC Community meeting in January, but that was to a small audience.  We’ll be presenting at the NSF Showcase at 10 am on the exhibition floor.
  • Barb is speaking on Friday afternoon in a panel at 3:30 on activities for K-12 CS outreach.
  • On Friday night, Barb is running her famous “How to run a computing summer camp workshop.”

As usual, Georgia Tech is sending several of us (not just Barb and me).  One of my PhD students, Briana Morrison, is on a panel on Flipped Classrooms Thursday 1:45-3 pm in 3501G.  Another of my PhD students, Miranda Parker, is part of a BOF Preparing Undergraduates to Make the Most of Attending CS Conferences 6:30-7:20 on Thursday evening.  Our colleague, Betsy DiSalvo, is speaking Friday morning 10:45-12 on a panel Research, Resources and Communities: Informal Ed as a Partner in Computer Science Education in 2505A.

This is one of my shorter stays at a SIGCSE conference.  I’ll be coming in late Wednesday and leaving Friday afternoon.  I’ve been traveling way too much lately (NSF BPC Community meeting in January, talk at Penn in early February, Tapia conference in Boston two weeks ago, AP CS Principles review meeting in Chicago this last week).  I am fortunate to be teaching Media Computation this semester, and I hate to miss so many lectures.  More, it’s hard on our family when we’re both gone.  Barb will be at SIGCSE all week, from Tuesday night to Sunday morning, so be sure to stop by and say hello to her.

March 3, 2015 at 9:23 am Leave a comment

Summer Camps in Georgia: Roll-up Report and Invitation to Play with Data (SECOND TRY)

I had posted this blog piece back in January, but then was asked to take it down.  There were concerns that the data were not anonymized enough to guarantee participant anonymity.  Tom McKlin did a great job of working with the Human Subjects Review board here at Georgia Tech, to figure out a set of data that would be useful to other computing education researchers, but would guarantee participant anonymity (to the extent feasible).  Here’s our newly approved data set.

Our external evaluators (The Findings Group) has just produced the roll-up analysis for all the GaComputes related summer camps from Summer 2012. These include camps offered at Georgia Tech, and those offere elsewhere in the state, started by GaComputes seed grants (as described in the 2011 SIGCSE paper that I blogged about). The results are strong:

  • Over 1,000 K-12 students participated statewide.
  • The camps were even more effective with women than men.
  • There was a statistically significant improvement in content knowledge for Scratch, Alice, and App Inventor, across genders, ethnic groups, and grade levels.
  • “The computing camps were particularly effective at increasing students’ intent to pursue additional computing, self‐efficacy in doing computing, and sense of belonging in computing.”
  • “Minority students reported significantly more growth in their intent to persist in computing than majority students.”

The Findings Group had a particularly interesting proposal for the Computing Education Research community. They are making all the survey data from all the camps freely available, in an anonymous form. They have a sense that there is more to learn from these data. It’s a lot of students, and there’s a lot to explore there in terms of motivation, engagement, and learning.

If you play with these data, do let us know what you learn!

March 2, 2013 at 1:26 am 6 comments

Educational Kit from CMU Can Turn Artwork and Crafts Into Robots

In our summer camps, two of the most popular activities have been Scratch and Pico Crickets.  Unfortunately, the company has been bought out by Lego and is being dismantled in favor of their WeDo, which isn’t anywhere close to the same thing.  I’m excited about Hummingbird — I hope that it captures some of the Pico Crickets excitement.

While educational robotic kits traditionally have focused on the technology itself — the building of a robot — Hummingbird treats robotics as just one element that can be combined with craft materials and text to communicate thoughts, feelings or ideas.

“We want students to become inventors of technology rather than users of technology,” said Robotics Professor Illah Nourbakhsh, whose CREATE Lab developed Hummingbird for a project called Arts & Bots. “Hummingbird feeds a student’s natural curiosity about technology by enabling her to incorporate robotics into something she is making that is meaningful or useful.”

The results often amount to kinetic sculptures that use sensors to detect changes in their environment and respond with movement and/or light displays. A cardboard dragon that turns its head and tries to bite anyone who comes close is one example. Students in West Virginia built a working replica of Star Wars’ R2D2.

via Press Release: Roboticize Your World: Educational Kit Can Turn Artwork and Crafts Into Robots-Carnegie Mellon News – Carnegie Mellon University.

July 27, 2012 at 3:34 am 1 comment

Barbara quoted in USNews on Summer Camps

Barb said that she got interviewed this last week by a reporter from US News and World Report.  Of course, they didn’t keep much of what she said, but they got one key point — the really exciting part is reaching the kids who haven’t already decided that they love computing.

That includes things like mobile app development, artificial life forms, and using the programming language Python to create music remixes—all of which are introductory camps available for high school students this summer at the Georgia Institute of Technology’s Institute of Computing Education at the College of Computing.

Enrolling your teen in intro-level sessions gives them an opportunity to realize their aptitude in areas they hadn’t otherwise considered, says Barbara Ericson, director of computing outreach at the institute, recalling one former summer camper who went on to study computer science at Georgia Tech after his mother signed him up for camp.

“He didn’t even want to come,” Ericson says. “That’s who we want to reach, kids who don’t think they’ll be interested.”

via Summer Camps Get Their STEM On – High School Notes (usnews.com).

June 1, 2012 at 9:00 am Leave a comment

Secret Sauce of Successful Summer Camps

Barb and I were invited to give a talk at Stanford earlier this month.  (The week after SIGCSE, and the week before our NSF site visit — March has been crazy.)  Scott Klemmer asked a really good question about Barb’s sustainable, effective, and replicable summer camps.  “So, what inference should we take from your work?  That we should do summer camps? That we should use your curriculum to get these camps?  Or that there’s a secret sauce for getting these results?”  Barb had a cute answer: “Do summer camps! That’s what’s most important. Please offer summer camps!”

Afterward, Barb and I talked about what the secret sauce is.  What leads to the results that Barb and Tom are seeing in the camps?  I think that we have a good answer, and it’s one that Scott, as an HCI guy, would like:

  • First, build on the research.  Kids who come to computing summer camps aren’t interested in lectures.  They want hands-on, project-based, discovery-driven learning opportunities.
  • Second, use formative evaluation and iterative development.  What made Barb’s camps work was the rapid feedback loop between Tom’s formative evaluations and Barb’s redesign of workshop content.  Sometimes, Tom got her feedback from one week, and Barb changed the summer camp design or curriculum before the next offering of the same camp.  Not everything worked.  Some camp leaders lectured too much.  Others had a dry sense of humor that turned off some students.

Here’s an example of something that wasn’t working.  One of the results that we talked about at our NSF poster session was that we found that girls were sometimes coming away with a greater sense that computing was “too hard.”  Tom did some observation studies, and found that that was happening in workshops where female leaders were saying, “Yeah, this is hard…but it’s really fun!” while male leaders only emphasized how fun it was!  Just that slight emphasis on “Yeah, it’s hard” interplayed with issues of self-efficacy and fixed mindset, and girls became more discouraged.  That’s something that’s hard to figure out, but easily fixed with some improved training of workshop leaders.

I’m hoping that Barb and Tom can write up this “secret sauce” when they do the larger, journal version of the SIGCSE paper.  It’s an important story of how they got there, because that’s even more of the “secret sauce” than just using Barb’s models and curricula.

March 27, 2012 at 6:35 am 5 comments


Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 9,005 other followers

Feeds

Recent Posts

Blog Stats

  • 1,879,910 hits
October 2021
M T W T F S S
 123
45678910
11121314151617
18192021222324
25262728293031

CS Teaching Tips