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Harvard Graduate School Education: teaching cs to teachers

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CS Teacher Ed Requires different goals and methods than CS Major (software professional developer) education. Talks about (a) what successful teachers know, (b) student misconceptions, and (c) about MediaComp as a model of non-major/non-developer intro CS.

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Harvard Graduate School Education: teaching cs to teachers

  1. 1. CS TEACHER ED REQUIRES DIFFERENT GOALS AND METHODS THAN CS MAJOR EDUCATION Mark Guzdial April 8, 2015
  2. 2. CS Teachers need CS Content Knowledge: But how? 1. CS Teachers need different knowledge and skills than Software Developers. 2. CS classes designed for non-developers can be more successful than those for CS majors. If we are ever to have pre-service professional development for CS teachers, they need their own CS classes.
  3. 3. #1: CS Teachers need different knowledge and skills 3 What do our model CS teachers do and know? Defining a Successful CS Teacher: • Recruits more students into CS • High pass rate • Confident and satisfied with teaching CS
  4. 4. How do you prepare your students for the AP CS exam? 4 “Everything in that class is more or less an assessment. They’re supposed to read certain sections in the book, and then they have quizzes over the reading. After they do the reading assignments, they have Gridworld case study quizzes and also Gridworld case study segments of code that they will go in and manipulate to change to get the things in the Gridworld case study to react different ways. Those are pretty much graded as labs or programs or quizzes.”
  5. 5. How do you prepare your students for the AP CS exam? 5 “Everything in that class is more or less an assessment. They’re supposed to read certain sections in the book, and then they have quizzes over the reading. After they do the reading assignments, they have Gridworld case study quizzes and also Gridworld case study segments of code that they will go in and manipulate to change to get the things in the Gridworld case study to react different ways. Those are pretty much graded as labs or programs or quizzes.”
  6. 6. How do you prepare your students for the AP CS exam? 6 And then if I read these [student quizzes], I can see any misconceptions or gaps in what I’ve done. I get a picture in my mind of where the current class is. Making them do the explaining is new this year. I’m seeing them do a lot better there. I‘ll do like little code (assignments) that they’ll write once a week. They have to write it by hand away from the computer, and I’ll read that and write them comments on what they’re doing and help them grade it with a rubric, and also pass them back after I’ve read them for them to grade, too, and have them look at what was catching it or where it didn’t quite get to it.
  7. 7. How do you prepare your students for the AP CS exam? 7 And then if I read these [student quizzes], I can see any misconceptions or gaps in what I’ve done. I get a picture in my mind of where the current class is. Making them do the explaining is new this year. I’m seeing them do a lot better there. I‘ll do like little code (assignments) that they’ll write once a week. They have to write it by hand away from the computer, and I’ll read that and write them comments on what they’re doing and help them grade it with a rubric, and also pass them back after I’ve read them for them to grade, too, and have them look at what was catching it or where it didn’t quite get to it.
  8. 8. A successful CS teacher… 8 • Writes assignments and comments, not code. • Guides students through rubrics, not syntax. • Is interested in learning (coding away from the computer, explaining), not productivity. • Is not all that focused on assessment.
  9. 9. Students find developer-simple things complex 9 • Brian Dorn found that end-user programmers (CHI 2010) found assignment difficult to learn. • Dehnadi and Bornat tested understanding of assignment to predict CS1 success. • The predicting variable was consistent use of model of assignment.
  10. 10. Common Misconceptions about Assignment 10 • Assignment is a move. • number1 is now empty. • Assignment is a swap. • Assignment is a relationship. • If we later change number1, number2 will automatically change. number1 = 14 number2 = number1
  11. 11. Common Misconceptions about Assignment 11 • Assignment is a move. • number1 is now empty. • Assignment is a swap. • Assignment is a relationship. • If we later change number1, number2 will automatically change. number1 = 14 number2 = number1 This is not where software developers focus. This is exactly where teachers focus.
  12. 12. #2: Domain-specific classes Fall 1999: All students at Georgia Tech must take a course in computer science. – Considered part of General Education, like mathematics, social science, humanities… 1999-2003: Only one course met the requirement. – Shackelford’s pseudocode approach in 1999 – Later Scheme: How to Design Programs (MIT Press)
  13. 13. One-class CS1: Pass (A, B, or C) vs. WDF (Withdrawal, D or F) Success Rates in CS1 from Fall 1999 to Spring 2002 (Overall: 78%) Architecture 46.7% Biology 64.4% Economics 53.5% History 46.5% Management 48.5% Public Policy 47.9%
  14. 14. Contextualized Computing Education What’s going on? – Research results: Computing is “tedious, boring, irrelevant” Since Spring 2003, Georgia Tech teaches three introductory CS courses. – Based on Margolis and Fisher’s “alternative paths” Each course introduces computing using a context (examples, homework assignments, lecture discussion) relevant to majors. – Make computing relevant by teaching it in terms of what computers are good for (from the students’ perspective)
  15. 15. 15 Open-ended, contextualized homework Sound collage
  16. 16. Asking women: What is CS to you? MediaComp Traditional Rich, Perry, Guzdial, SIGCSE 2004
  17. 17. 38 Survey One Year Later 19% of respondents had programmed since class ended "Did the class change how you interact with computers?” – 80% say “Yes” – “Definitely makes me think of what is going on behind the scenes of such programs like Photoshop and Illustrator.” – 'I understand technological concepts more easily now; I am more willing and able to experience new things with computers now’ – 'I have learned more about the big picture behind computer science and programming. This has helped me to figure out how to use programs that I've never used before.’
  18. 18. Results:CS1“Media Computation” 86.470% 88.360% 84.710% 89.870% 91.940% 87.500% 80.330% 82.900% 77.460% 12.540% 10.270% 14.650% 9.370% 7.580% 11.410% 19.650% 17.100% 22.540% Total Fall03 Females Fall03 Males Fall03 Total Sp04 Females Sp04 Males Sp04 Total Fall04 Females Fall04 Males Fall04 WDF Pass Change in Success rates in CS1 “Media Computation” from Spring 2003 to Fall 2005 (Overall 85%) Architecture 46.7% 85.7% Biology 64.4% 90.4% Economics 54.5% 92.0% History 46.5% 67.6% Management 48.5% 87.8% Public Policy 47.9% 85.4%
  19. 19. Summary: • Successful CS teachers are different than software developers. • Different skills • PCK • Traditional CS classes tend to be focused on software development. • Classes that teach the CS specific to a particular group can be successful: Retention and Longterm Usefulness. 19
  20. 20. Thanks! Colleagues: Barbara Ericson, Tom McKlin, Lijun Ni, Briana Morrison, & Brian Dorn Our Funders: US National Science Foundation – Statewide BPC Alliance: Project “Georgia Computes!” http://www.gacomputes.org – Expanding Computing Education Pathways Alliance, http://expandingcomputing.org – CCLI and CPATH Grants, and now CE21 to produce new media Georgia’s Department of Education GVU Center, and Institute for People and Technology (iPaT) at Georgia Tech
  21. 21. For more information: http://www.cc.gatech.edu/~mark.guzdial Lab: http://home.cc.gatech.edu/csl Institute for Computing Education at Georgia Tech: – http://coweb.cc.gatech.edu/ice-gt For more on MediaComp: http://www.mediacomputation.org

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