-A A +A

Feed aggregator

What’s generally good for you vs what meets a need: Balancing explicit instruction vs problem/project-based learning in computer science classes

ComputingEd - 12 hours 32 min ago

Lauren Margulieux has posted another of her exceptionally interesting journal article summaries (see post here). Her post summarizes recent article asking which is more effective: Direct instruction or learning through problem-solving-first (like in project-based learning or problem-based learning — or just about any introductory computer science course in any school anywhere)? Direct instruction won by a wide margin.

Lauren points out that there are lots of conditions when problem-solving-first might make sense. In more advanced classes where students have lots of expertise, we should use a different teaching strategy than what we use in introductory classes. When the subject matter isn’t cognitively complex (e.g., memorizing vocabulary words), there is advantages to having the students try to figure it out themselves first. Neither of these conditions are true for introductory computer science.

This is an on-going discussion in computing education. Felienne Hermans had a keynote at the 2019 RStudio Conference where she made an argument for explicit direct instruction (see link here). I made an argument for direct instruction in Blog@CACM last November (see post here). Back in 2017, I recommended balancing direct instruction and projects (see post here), because projects are clearly more motivating and authentic for computer science students, while the literature suggest that direct instruction leads to better learning — even of problem-solving skills.

Lately, I’ve been thinking about this question with a health metaphor. Let me try it here:

Everybody should exercise, right? Exercise provides a wide variety of benefits (listed in a fascinating blog post from Freakonomics from this June), including cardiovascular improvements, better aging, better sleep, and less stress. But if you have a heart problem, you’re going to get treatment for that, right? If you’re having high cholesterol, you should continue to exercise (or even increase it), but you might also be prescribed a statin.  If you have a specific need (like a vitamin deficiency), you address that need.

Students in computing should work on projects. It’s authentic, it’s motivating, and there are likely a wide range of benefits. But if you want to gain specific skills, e.g., you want to achieve learning objectives, teach those directly. Don’t just assign a big project and hope that they learn the right things there. If you want to see specific improvement in specific areas, teach those. So sure, assign projects — but in balance. Meet the students’ needs AND give them opportunities to practice project skills.

And when you teach explicitly: Always, ALWAYS, ALWAYS use active learning techniques like peer instruction. It’s simply unethical to lecture without active learning.

Come talk about the Role of Authentic STEM Learning Experiences in Developing Interest and Competencies for Technology and Computing #STEMforCompTech

ComputingEd - Fri, 09/13/2019 - 10:00

I’m on a National Academies committee to write a report about the role of authentic STEM learning experiences in promoting interest and ability in computing.  We’re having an open meeting/workshop (I don’t really know what it’s about yet) in November in DC. Visit this link for more information.

Machine Learning Education for Artists, Musicians, and Other Creative Practitioners

ACM TOCE and InRoads - Thu, 09/12/2019 - 20:00
Rebecca Fiebrink

This article aims to lay a foundation for the research and practice of machine learning education for creative practitioners. It begins by arguing that it is important to teach machine learning to creative practitioners and to conduct research about this teaching, drawing on related work in creative machine learning, creative computing education, and machine learning education. It then draws on research about design processes in engineering and creative practice to motivate a set of learning objectives for students who wish to design new creative artifacts with machine learning. The article then draws on education research and knowledge of creative computing practices to propose a set of teaching strategies that can be used to support creative computing students in achieving these objectives.
Categories: Education

Machine Learning Education for Artists, Musicians, and Other Creative Practitioners

ACM Transactions on Computing Education - Thu, 09/12/2019 - 20:00
Rebecca Fiebrink

This article aims to lay a foundation for the research and practice of machine learning education for creative practitioners. It begins by arguing that it is important to teach machine learning to creative practitioners and to conduct research about this teaching, drawing on related work in creative machine learning, creative computing education, and machine learning education. It then draws on research about design processes in engineering and creative practice to motivate a set of learning objectives for students who wish to design new creative artifacts with machine learning. The article then draws on education research and knowledge of creative computing practices to propose a set of teaching strategies that can be used to support creative computing students in achieving these objectives.

Biosensing

News From NSF - Wed, 09/11/2019 - 21:12

Available Formats:
HTML: https://www.nsf.gov/funding/pgm_summ.jsp?pims_id=505720&WT.mc_id=USNSF_25&WT.mc_ev=click
Document Number: PD 20-7909


This is an NSF Program Announcements and Information item.

Engineering of Biomedical Systems

News From NSF - Wed, 09/11/2019 - 15:03

Available Formats:
HTML: https://www.nsf.gov/funding/pgm_summ.jsp?pims_id=505722&WT.mc_id=USNSF_25&WT.mc_ev=click
Document Number: PD 20-5345


This is an NSF Program Announcements and Information item.

Biophotonics

News From NSF - Tue, 09/10/2019 - 22:27

Available Formats:
HTML: https://www.nsf.gov/funding/pgm_summ.jsp?pims_id=505719&WT.mc_id=USNSF_25&WT.mc_ev=click
Document Number: PD 20-7236


This is an NSF Program Announcements and Information item.

Disability and Rehabilitation Engineering

News From NSF - Tue, 09/10/2019 - 22:27

Available Formats:
HTML: https://www.nsf.gov/funding/pgm_summ.jsp?pims_id=505718&WT.mc_id=USNSF_25&WT.mc_ev=click
Document Number: PD 20-5342


This is an NSF Program Announcements and Information item.

Particulate and Multiphase Processes

News From NSF - Tue, 09/10/2019 - 22:27

Available Formats:
HTML: https://www.nsf.gov/funding/pgm_summ.jsp?pims_id=505700&WT.mc_id=USNSF_25&WT.mc_ev=click
Document Number: PD 20-1415


This is an NSF Program Announcements and Information item.

Environmental Engineering

News From NSF - Tue, 09/10/2019 - 22:27

Available Formats:
HTML: https://www.nsf.gov/funding/pgm_summ.jsp?pims_id=505692&WT.mc_id=USNSF_25&WT.mc_ev=click
Document Number: PD 20-1440


This is an NSF Program Announcements and Information item.

Environmental Sustainability

News From NSF - Tue, 09/10/2019 - 22:27

Available Formats:
HTML: https://www.nsf.gov/funding/pgm_summ.jsp?pims_id=505695&WT.mc_id=USNSF_25&WT.mc_ev=click
Document Number: PD 20-7643


This is an NSF Program Announcements and Information item.

Process Systems, Reaction Engineering, and Molecular Thermodynamics

News From NSF - Tue, 09/10/2019 - 22:27

Available Formats:
HTML: https://www.nsf.gov/funding/pgm_summ.jsp?pims_id=505727&WT.mc_id=USNSF_25&WT.mc_ev=click
Document Number: PD 20-1403


This is an NSF Program Announcements and Information item.

Electrochemical Systems

News From NSF - Tue, 09/10/2019 - 22:27

Available Formats:
HTML: https://www.nsf.gov/funding/pgm_summ.jsp?pims_id=505725&WT.mc_id=USNSF_25&WT.mc_ev=click
Document Number: PD 20-7644


This is an NSF Program Announcements and Information item.

Catalysis

News From NSF - Tue, 09/10/2019 - 20:23

Available Formats:
HTML: https://www.nsf.gov/funding/pgm_summ.jsp?pims_id=505723&WT.mc_id=USNSF_25&WT.mc_ev=click
Document Number: PD 20-1401


This is an NSF Program Announcements and Information item.

Cellular and Biochemical Engineering

News From NSF - Tue, 09/10/2019 - 20:23

Available Formats:
HTML: https://www.nsf.gov/funding/pgm_summ.jsp?pims_id=505721&WT.mc_id=USNSF_25&WT.mc_ev=click
Document Number: PD 20-1491


This is an NSF Program Announcements and Information item.

Thermal Transport Processes

News From NSF - Tue, 09/10/2019 - 20:23

Available Formats:
HTML: https://www.nsf.gov/funding/pgm_summ.jsp?pims_id=505701&WT.mc_id=USNSF_25&WT.mc_ev=click
Document Number: PD 20-1406


This is an NSF Program Announcements and Information item.

Pages

Subscribe to Computing Portal aggregator