15.00 lonati acariss
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15.00 lonati acariss 15.00 lonati acariss Presentation Transcript

  • Teaching informatics for fun and profit Violetta Lonati C. Bellettini, D. Malchiodi, M. Monga, A. Morpurgo, M. Torelli aladdin@di.unimi.it ` Universita degli studi di Milano Dipartimento di Informatica Science education and guidance in schools: the way forward. Firenze, October 2013
  • Outline Informatics is fun, but only few discover it in schools! Informatics as a science: a formative discipline Algomotricity - our proposal for schools Some workshops we propose Violetta Lonati - Teaching informatics for fun and profit 0 / 14
  • Informatics is fun. . . . . . but only few discover it in schools! informatics == computer/applications literacy learn it because it helps you in finding a job the fun is normally associated to specific entertaining uses of computers (games, social networks, etc), not the discipline and its challenges Instead, we know it’s fun: “I think that it’s extraordinarily important that we in computer science keep fun in computing. When it started out, it was an awful lot of fun.” [Alan Perlis] How to show it to young people? Violetta Lonati - Teaching informatics for fun and profit 1 / 14
  • Why misperceived? Main problem: What is the role of computers (and applications) in informatics (computer science)? “Computer science is no more about computers than astronomy is about telescopes.” [Dijkstra, 1986] “The term computer science is as descriptive as the etymology of the word geometry” [Abelson, 1987] Among experts the answer is rather clear: computer science is not (or not only) the science of computers, but rather the science of computing (for this reason the name Informatics is preferred, at least in Europe). Violetta Lonati - Teaching informatics for fun and profit 2 / 14
  • Computer Science In fact, informatics is a multi-faceted discipline seen in three radically different ways when taught in school: 1 as a science, with its own peculiar approach to problem solving Violetta Lonati - Teaching informatics for fun and profit 3 / 14
  • Computer Science In fact, informatics is a multi-faceted discipline seen in three radically different ways when taught in school: 1 as a science, with its own peculiar approach to problem solving 2 as a technology, producing hardware and software tools Violetta Lonati - Teaching informatics for fun and profit 3 / 14
  • Computer Science In fact, informatics is a multi-faceted discipline seen in three radically different ways when taught in school: 1 as a science, with its own peculiar approach to problem solving 2 as a technology, producing hardware and software tools 3 as an instrument, to work on problems arising in all contexts Violetta Lonati - Teaching informatics for fun and profit 3 / 14
  • Computer Science In fact, informatics is a multi-faceted discipline seen in three radically different ways when taught in school: 1 as a science, with its own peculiar approach to problem solving 2 as a technology, producing hardware and software tools 3 as an instrument, to work on problems arising in all contexts But the general public has a reductive perception of informatics as the mere ability to master a set of applications or communication tools! Violetta Lonati - Teaching informatics for fun and profit 3 / 14
  • Problem By neglecting the ‘science and technology’ facet we lose the most intellectual fertile part of informatics! What can be done? Violetta Lonati - Teaching informatics for fun and profit 4 / 14
  • A cultural battle is due Expose children to. . . . . . computing . . . computers −→ We must show the computational core of informatics to children! Violetta Lonati - Teaching informatics for fun and profit 5 / 14
  • A formative subject We actually believe informatics is a very formative discipline, not just for a specialist audience. abstraction algorithmic thinking and structured problem solving modularity formal languages (unambiguous description of objects and procedures) representation of information computation with constraints on the resources (time and space) learn about how we learn (S. Papert) Violetta Lonati - Teaching informatics for fun and profit 6 / 14
  • Algomotricity - our proposal to schools Algomotricity means to perform or implement an informatic process by physical (kynestethic / tactile) activities using some form of dramatization. Violetta Lonati - Teaching informatics for fun and profit 7 / 14
  • Algomotricity - our proposal to schools Algomotricity means to perform or implement an informatic process by physical (kynestethic / tactile) activities using some form of dramatization. Use of computer Computers and software tools should be of secondary importance, but the conceptual link with them should be clear. Violetta Lonati - Teaching informatics for fun and profit 7 / 14
  • Algomotricity - our proposal to schools Algomotricity means to perform or implement an informatic process by physical (kynestethic / tactile) activities using some form of dramatization. Use of computer Computers and software tools should be of secondary importance, but the conceptual link with them should be clear. Background: allosteric learning the direct transmission of knowledge should be kept to a minimum, pupils should be lead to reconsider their mental models by discovering concepts autonomously. Violetta Lonati - Teaching informatics for fun and profit 7 / 14
  • Algomotricity - our proposal to schools Aim: replacing an abstract symbolic manipulation by physical activities, which should help the pupils in developing a suitable mental representation of the informatic process considered. Violetta Lonati - Teaching informatics for fun and profit 8 / 14
  • Algomotricity - our proposal to schools Aim: replacing an abstract symbolic manipulation by physical activities, which should help the pupils in developing a suitable mental representation of the informatic process considered. The cognitive process: 1 the physical activity focus on the informatic process considered Violetta Lonati - Teaching informatics for fun and profit 8 / 14
  • Algomotricity - our proposal to schools Aim: replacing an abstract symbolic manipulation by physical activities, which should help the pupils in developing a suitable mental representation of the informatic process considered. The cognitive process: 1 the physical activity focus on the informatic process considered 2 the process is repeated, generalized and analyzed by pencil and paper Violetta Lonati - Teaching informatics for fun and profit 8 / 14
  • Algomotricity - our proposal to schools Aim: replacing an abstract symbolic manipulation by physical activities, which should help the pupils in developing a suitable mental representation of the informatic process considered. The cognitive process: 1 the physical activity focus on the informatic process considered 2 the process is repeated, generalized and analyzed by pencil and paper 3 the relation with computer is clarified by an experimental activity through the use of specifically conceived software. Violetta Lonati - Teaching informatics for fun and profit 8 / 14
  • Algomotricity - our proposal to schools 1: A first approach in the lab 2: Dramatization 4: Back in the lab 3: Build mental models through games Violetta Lonati - Teaching informatics for fun and profit 9 / 14
  • Some workshops we propose A set of extra-curricular activities was first proposed to 15-16 year old students in a secondary school. The same activity was subsequently carried out autonomously by a math teacher in another school, but with younger pupils (11 year old), with good results. This experience fostered the creation of 2-hours workshops which are achieving a good success (about 30 classes involved, 10-16 year old students). Violetta Lonati - Teaching informatics for fun and profit 10 / 14
  • Some workshops we propose Wikipasta: on the role of text formatting and how to represent the meta-information it conveys. Violetta Lonati - Teaching informatics for fun and profit 11 / 14
  • Some workshops we propose Mazes: on algorithms. Violetta Lonati - Teaching informatics for fun and profit 12 / 14
  • Some workshops we propose Human pixels: on the digital representation of images. Violetta Lonati - Teaching informatics for fun and profit 13 / 14
  • Conclusions To convey a view of informatics as a scientific discipline, as opposed to the current mis-perception of the field, we propose: some core aspects of informatics to both pupils and teachers, a methodological approach to informatics teachers. Violetta Lonati - Teaching informatics for fun and profit 14 / 14