Wednesday, June 12, 2013

A Forty Minute Tour of CS Education With Mark Guzdial

Mark Guzdial is one of the big names in computer science education.  A couple of months ago, he spoke at the GVU Brown Bag Seminar with a talk entitled What We Know About Teaching Computer Science ("What does Guzdial do, Anyway?").  If you're interested in CS education, take 40 minutes and watch the recording (linked above, embedded below).

Mark's talk focuses on four lessons in teaching computer science:
  1. "Increasing value through relevance and context"
  2. "Anchored collaboration helps (sometimes)"
  3. "We can teach computing by meeting students where they are"
  4. "We can restructure and improve learning materials based on research principles"
Here are a few interesting tidbits from this tour of CS education:
  • for every software developer, there are 9 end user programmers (database queries, spreadsheet macros, etc) who don't know that computer science is a thing that can help them with what they do
  • AP computer science in Georgia is predominately a white and Asian male test
  • there are not a lot of people looking at why programming is so hard at a deep, cognitive level
  • USCD implemented media computation with peer instruction and pair programming; since then, they have increased retention of CS majors into second year by 30%
  • when teaching HS teachers about programming with videos, simply adding subgoal labels to the video significantly increases the teachers' ability to learn 


Lazza said...

Great video. In my opinion we have a big, HUGE problem all over the world and across many grades, from elementary school to university: people think that "computer science" is about using computer, they don't really think it's a good idea to understand how they work or why they work in "this or that" way. As long as there is this totally dumb misconception about what should be taught regarding CS in schools and universities (ok, except in degrees which are specifically technical) humanity will not go forward.

Gail Carmichael said...

Agree! This is a big reason I aim to cover actual CS in the "intro to computers for arts and social sciences" class I sometimes teach. Traditionally it's mostly MS Office all term long.

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