RSS

C.P. Snow keeps getting more right: Why everyone needs to learn about algorithms #CS4All

Computing Education Blog

When I give talks about teaching computer to everyone, I often start with Alan Perlis and C.P. Snow in 1961. They made the first two public arguments for teaching computer science to everyone in higher education.  Alan Perlis’s talk was the most up-beat, talking about all the great things we can think about and do with computer.  He offered the carrot.  C.P. Snow offered the stick.

C.P. Snow foresaw that algorithms were going to run our world, and people would be creating those algorithms without oversight by the people whose lives would be controlled by them. Those who don’t understand algorithms don’t know how to challenge them, to ask about them, to fight back against them. Quoting from Martin Greenberger’s edited volume, Computers and the World of the Future (MIT Press, 1962), we hear from Snow:

Decisions which are going to affect a great deal of our…

View original post 741 more words

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on August 23, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

5 Uses for Google Forms in Schools

Indiana Jen

Over the last year, Google has showered Forms with a lot of attention and, as a result, has enjoyed numerous, productive updates for educators. I use Google Forms regularly in my school and now more than ever, it’s become instrumental for both my academic as well as administrative duties. Here are five ways that you can use Google Forms in your school.

Bell Ringer/Exit Ticket

I’m a fan of bell ringers and exit tickets. Bell ringers are a great tool to check for understanding and to get my students in the mind-set of the class. Exit tickets are a great way to check for understanding at the end of a lesson. With Forms, you can post an assignment for students to complete when they walk in the door or a quick quiz to assess them at the end of a lesson. If your students are in a 1:1 environment, you…

View original post 618 more words

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on August 23, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

Teacher Education and A Call to Activism

the becoming radical

If such a thing existed, education as a profession and discipline would easily take Gold, Silver, and Bronze in the Low Self-Esteem Olympics.

Historically viewed as a woman’s profession—and thus a “second” salary—and as merely a professional discipline, education has labored under a secondary status in both the professional and academic worlds.

As a result, education chose early to be a scientific profession and discipline to counter the perception of softness—and thus, as Kliebard details, the heart and soul of education (child-centered commitments and social activism) were marginalized for the more conservative and “hard” elements (efficiency and core curriculum).

In the early decades of the twentieth century, then, a paradox developed: while many who demonized and championed education associated U.S. public schools with John Dewey, the reality was that very little progressivism was practiced but that standardized testing was established as the engine driving the education machine.

Throughout…

View original post 979 more words

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on August 20, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

Coding & The Liberal Arts

DSC00155Up until the early 20th Century Latin formed the basis of the Liberal Arts curriculum, not because everyone would be a Latin scholar, but because it was seen as something which taught one to think, because it was a rigorous discipline requiring accuracy and ability to master a logical system. It formed an excellent indicator of academic potential, and thus persisted in the educational system well beyond its usefulness as a lingua franca. In the 1900s it was largely replaced by History as a preparation for public life, politics and the civil service.

I would argue that the decline of History, and of Latin, has left a crucial void in the Liberal Arts. In a sense it has robbed the Liberal Arts of their importance in the overall scheme of things. When the main purpose of Education was to fuel the bureaucracy of the empire, the need was for individuals possessing the skills to administer vast tracts of foreign soil, far from home with a sense of duty and the ability to remain unflappable under enormous pressure. The study of Latin or History provided a sense of place and importance – it underlined the belief in the superiority of Western culture, and gave the colonial bureaucrat, trained at Harrow or Eton, a sense of their moral and cosmic worth.

The relativism and post-modernism of the last hundred years, along with the decline of the empire, has stripped away all sense of worth and purpose, and left only naked materialism. In Education, the Liberal Arts have been eaten away by the ascendency of Mathematics and Science. Now, I have nothing against the Sciences – they are absolutely vital in any education, but I believe that critical thinking needs a balance, a grounding in the Arts. I’ve just seen some research suggesting that good English teaching improves Mathematical ability. And I have a gut feeling that music is also vital. Drama too – hell, all the Arts are important, but I can’t help feeling that something is missing at the core of our curriculum: a humanistic study which is grounded in rigour and trains critical thinking.

Those of you who are still with me will be surprised now to hear that I am going to suggest that coding, computer programming fills this void. Is coding an Art? Surely it should be lumped with the Sciences. How can it fill that need for a rigorous study which simultaneously fuels a sense of moral worth and makes sense of the Universe? It is undoubtedly rigorous, and I would argue is an excellent training ground for rigorous thinking, so vital for critical thought. There is nothing quite as exacting or as unforgiving as a computer program. One comma out of place, a forgotten semi-colon can negate an entire endeavour. Programmers need to be able to conceive of the purpose and function of a program, design its outline and implement its details in ways which enhance user experience and maximise functionality. Game design, in particular, needs to engage on many levels at the interface between humans and machine. In a sense, like music, it combines creativity with mathematical precision.

I have a sense that the 21st Century is going to be all about how we manage our relationship with machines. The factories of the Industrial Age were one kind of machine, but the digital interfaces of the Information Age are quite another, and I have a feeling that the ability to hack one’s machines is what will define our ability to rise above mere consumerism. What the digital natives of the digital generation seem to lack is that ability to hack their machines. When I think back to what I did with my first computer, a ZX Spectrum, it involved almost only programming! There was precious little else you could do with it. Kids today experience computers almost entirely as platforms for products they download. Very little is done even to tweak these programs. Computing has become an act of consumption first and foremost.

We have a duty to teach kids to code so that people have the ability to act as agents of their own destiny in an increasingly complex digital world. Coding is therefore a humanistic project, perhaps the most vital expression of our humanity in a world where we are relying on our machines more and more.

What should replace History at the core of the Liberal Arts curriculum? Why, coding of course!

 

Innovation in Education is Overrated

My Island View

innovationAs a society, we place a premium on innovators and entrepreneurs. They are admired, or for some revered in Business, Politics, and even Education. The reason for that bias is that innovators and entrepreneurs are scarce commodities. Most people are employees and not entrepreneurs. There is nothing wrong with that. Most people follow trends; they don’t start them. There is nothing wrong with that. Few people lead while most people follow. Again, there is nothing wrong with that. On the surface one would expect that in consideration of their rarity and with all of this reverence for innovation and entrepreneurship, that support would abound to propagate and spread innovation within any system, especially one like Education that should model what is the very best in what is expected of its learners. The problem with innovation in any system however, is the same problem with innovation in regard to individuals. Everyone…

View original post 557 more words

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on August 13, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

Creating Rubrics in Moodle

educational research techniques

Rubrics are a systematic way of grading assignments. They can be holistic or analytical in nature.

A holistic rubric looks at the overall assignment and provides one over-arching criterion with various levels of performance. For example, a paper can be jduge on overall writing by making the categories of excellent, good, average, and poor. Each of these ratings comes with a brief paragraph that describes the level of performance. This is a way to provide some feedback with having to spend a large amount of time marking.

An analytical rubric breaks the assignment done into components and provides a rating for each component. For a research paper a teacher might include the components of grammar, formatting, word count, etc. and each of these components would have a score attached to it.

In this post, we are going to develop an analytical rubric for an assignment in Moodle. The only activity…

View original post 436 more words

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on August 8, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

Play Like a Pirate – Fun is an essential part of learning

Play Like a Pirate – Fun is an essential part of learning

History Tech

I spent part of the morning chatting with golfing buddy and educational expert Steve Wyckoff. He’s got a way of sucking people into unplanned conversations that end up making everyone smarter. It’s always a good time when it starts with Steve’s signature line:

“So what’s become clear to you?”

This morning wasn’t any different.

We spent perhaps an hour meandering around a matrix that focuses on levels of student engagement. The different quadrants of the matrix ask students to think about how challenging a class is and whether they love or hate it. We’re thinking about using this to get usable data from middle and high school students. As in, “pick a quadrant that best describes each of your classes.”

View original post 483 more words

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on August 2, 2016 in Uncategorized

 
 
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 2,519 other followers

%d bloggers like this: