Monday, September 17, 2018

The Multiple Natures of Computer Science Education

There was a lot of good CS education activity on Twitter this past weekend. I know I missed a lot of it but some things did stand out for me. One of these was this Tweet from Hadi Partovi, co-founder and show runner at Code.Org:

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This is not really new of course. But it does highlight the fact that we can’t look at CS as all analytical and miss out of the creativity inherent in it. If everyone in the class turns in a project that looks identical do we really know if they understand the concepts or are they just good at following directions? Does everyone come up with the same solution? Or do you, the educator, see solutions that are different from what you would come up with? Letting students getting creative makes things more interesting and motivating.

Likewise CS is not just for the college bound or for the career bound. Comprehensive high schools and vocational high schools do tend to look at CS education very differently. We have to be careful that we achieve some balance here. We can’t ignore the tools completely and keep it all theoretical. Nor can we get so deep into the tools that we ignore the concepts that drive the tools.

We have to avoid being the blind men judging the elephant only one what is in reach. We have to share more of the elephant with our students so they become whole people and not limited by too much focus.

1 comment:

Thomas Ho said...

Here’s a draft of a presentation:

https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1vSqNxi3YwWlHsgd490icqKPeV_XqKVuIhYr7-EgMO8o

I’m sharing on Friday at:

https://www.doe.in.gov/wf-stem/flipping-switch-indiana%E2%80%99s-2nd-annual-k-8-computer-science-conference