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Youth Computational Participation in the Wild: Understanding Experience and Equity in Participating and Programming in the Online Scratch Community

ACM Transactions on Computing Education - Sun, 08/27/2017 - 20:00
Deborah A. Fields, Yasmin B. Kafai, Michael T. Giang

Most research in primary and secondary computing education has focused on understanding learners within formal classroom communities, leaving aside the growing number of promising informal online programming communities where young users contribute, comment, and collaborate on programs to facilitate learning. In this article, we examined trends in computational participation in Scratch, an online community with over 1 million registered youth designers. Drawing on a random sample of 5,004 youth programmers and their activities over 3 months in early 2012, we examined programming concepts used in projects in relation to level of participation, gender, and length of membership of Scratch programmers. Latent class analysis results identified the same four groups of programmers in each month based on the usage of different programming concepts and showed how membership in these groups shifted in different ways across time.

Google report in CACM: Is the U.S. Education System Ready for CS for All?

ComputingEd - Fri, 08/25/2017 - 07:00

Jennifer Wang of Google has the Education Viewpoints column in CACM this month, and she reports on data that Google is collecting on systemic issues preventing CS for All.  It’s an important report that I recommend.

Interestingly, we also found that regardless of race/ethnicity or gender, 80% of students who have learned CS said that they learned CS in a class at school, about twice the rate of any other means of learning, including on their own, through afterschool clubs, online, or in any other program outside of school. This data strongly suggests formal education remains the best way to ensure widespread and equitable access to CS learning.

Yet, we found schools faced many barriers to offering CS classes. We asked principals and superintendents why they did not offer CS in their schools and districts. The most commonly cited barriers had to do with lack of qualified teachers and competing demands of standardized test preparation. Lack of qualified teachers was cited by 63% of principals and 74% of superintendents. Not enough funding to train teachers was cited by 55% of principals and 57% of superintendents. The need to devote time to testing requirements was cited by 50% of principals and 55% of superintendents. This indicates computing professionals can play an important role in expanding access to CS by supporting organizations that train teachers and by providing mentoring and resources to teachers and students.

Source: Is the U.S. Education System Ready for CS for All? | August 2017 | Communications of the ACM


Tagged: computing education, computing for all, computing for everyone, CS for all, Google

Paleontologists discover new species of sauropod dinosaur in Tanzania

News From NSF - Thu, 08/24/2017 - 10:00

Paleontologists have identified a new species of titanosaurian dinosaur. The research is reported in a paper published this week in the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology and is funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF).

The new species is a member of the gigantic, long-necked sauropods. Its fossil remains were recovered from Cretaceous Period (70-100 million years ago) rocks in southwestern Tanzania.

Titanosaur skeletons have been found worldwide, but are best ...
More at https://www.nsf.gov/news/news_summ.jsp?cntn_id=242862&WT.mc_id=USNSF_51&WT.mc_ev=click


This is an NSF News item.

New NSF awards will bring together cross-disciplinary science communities to develop foundations of data science

News From NSF - Thu, 08/24/2017 - 09:00

The National Science Foundation (NSF) today announced $17.7 million in funding for 12 Transdisciplinary Research in Principles of Data Science (TRIPODS) projects, which will bring together the statistics, mathematics and theoretical computer science communities to develop the foundations of data science. Conducted at 14 institutions in 11 states, these projects will promote long-term research and training activities in data science that transcend disciplinary boundaries.

"Data is ...
More at https://www.nsf.gov/news/news_summ.jsp?cntn_id=242888&WT.mc_id=USNSF_51&WT.mc_ev=click


This is an NSF News item.

NSF issues first Convergence awards, addressing societal challenges through scientific collaboration

News From NSF - Thu, 08/24/2017 - 08:55

Throughout its history, the National Science Foundation (NSF) has focused on addressing grand challenges within science and engineering. These challenges represent our greatest opportunity to strengthen the nation through scientific discovery, and meeting them will require sustained and deep collaborations across scientific disciplines.

Through its Growing Convergent Research at NSF portfolio, the foundation seeks to highlight the value of Convergence, the deep integration of ...
More at https://www.nsf.gov/news/news_summ.jsp?cntn_id=242889&WT.mc_id=USNSF_51&WT.mc_ev=click


This is an NSF News item.

A Meta-Analysis of Pair-Programming in Computer Programming Courses: Implications for Educational Practice

ACM TOCE and InRoads - Wed, 08/23/2017 - 20:00
Karthikeyan Umapathy, Albert D. Ritzhaupt

Several experiments on the effects of pair programming versus solo programming in the context of education have been reported in the research literature. We present a meta-analysis of these studies that accounted for 18 manuscripts with 28 independent effect sizes in the domains of programming assignments, exams, passing rates, and affective measures. In total, our sample accounts for N = 3,308 students either using pair programming as a treatment variable or using traditional solo programming in the context of a computing course. Our findings suggest positive results in favor of pair programming in three of four domains with exception to affective measures.
Categories: Education

Writing In-Code Comments to Self-Explain in Computational Science and Engineering Education

ACM TOCE and InRoads - Wed, 08/23/2017 - 20:00
Camilo Vieira, Alejandra J. Magana, Michael L. Falk, R. Edwin Garcia

This article presents two case studies aimed at exploring the use of self-explanations in the context of computational science and engineering (CSE) education. The self-explanations were elicited as students’ in-code comments of a set of worked-examples, and the cases involved two different approaches to CSE education: glass box and black box. The glass-box approach corresponds to a programming course for materials science and engineering students that focuses on introducing programming concepts while solving disciplinary problems. The black-box approach involves the introduction of Python-based computational tools within a thermodynamics course to represent disciplinary phenomena. Two semesters of data collection for each case study allowed us to identify the effect of using in-code comments as a self-explanation strategy on students’ engagement with the worked-examples and students’ perceptions of these activities within each context.
Categories: Education

Teaching Computational Thinking Using Agile Software Engineering Methods: A Framework for Middle Schools

ACM TOCE and InRoads - Wed, 08/23/2017 - 20:00
Ilenia Fronza, Nabil El Ioini, Luis Corral

Computational Thinking (CT) has been recognized as one of the fundamental skills that all graduates should acquire. For this reason, motivational concerns need to be addressed at an early age of a child, and reaching students who do not consider themselves candidates for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics disciplines is important as well if the broadest audience possible is to be engaged. This article describes a framework for teaching and assessing CT in the context of K-12 education. The framework is based on Agile software engineering methods, which rely on a set of principles and practices that can be mapped to the activities of CT.
Categories: Education

Getting IT Together: A Longitudinal Look at Linking Girls' Interest in IT Careers to Lessons Taught in Middle School Camps

ACM TOCE and InRoads - Wed, 08/23/2017 - 20:00
Christina N. Outlay, Alana J. Platt, Kacie Conroy

The dearth of women choosing information technology (IT) careers has been identified as a national problem in the United States. Efforts have been made to combat this by educating girls at a young age about technology. Recent research demonstrates that exposure to technology is insufficient to change young girls’ attitudes towards IT careers and that interventions must explicitly tie technology activities to careers. Faculty and staff of a Midwestern university modified an IT summer camp for middle school girls to include career specific programming. The camp deployed the Girls Educating Themselves about Information Technology (GET IT) program to garner interest among middle school girls in IT careers.
Categories: Education

A Meta-Analysis of Pair-Programming in Computer Programming Courses: Implications for Educational Practice

ACM Transactions on Computing Education - Wed, 08/23/2017 - 20:00
Karthikeyan Umapathy, Albert D. Ritzhaupt

Several experiments on the effects of pair programming versus solo programming in the context of education have been reported in the research literature. We present a meta-analysis of these studies that accounted for 18 manuscripts with 28 independent effect sizes in the domains of programming assignments, exams, passing rates, and affective measures. In total, our sample accounts for N = 3,308 students either using pair programming as a treatment variable or using traditional solo programming in the context of a computing course. Our findings suggest positive results in favor of pair programming in three of four domains with exception to affective measures.

Writing In-Code Comments to Self-Explain in Computational Science and Engineering Education

ACM Transactions on Computing Education - Wed, 08/23/2017 - 20:00
Camilo Vieira, Alejandra J. Magana, Michael L. Falk, R. Edwin Garcia

This article presents two case studies aimed at exploring the use of self-explanations in the context of computational science and engineering (CSE) education. The self-explanations were elicited as students’ in-code comments of a set of worked-examples, and the cases involved two different approaches to CSE education: glass box and black box. The glass-box approach corresponds to a programming course for materials science and engineering students that focuses on introducing programming concepts while solving disciplinary problems. The black-box approach involves the introduction of Python-based computational tools within a thermodynamics course to represent disciplinary phenomena. Two semesters of data collection for each case study allowed us to identify the effect of using in-code comments as a self-explanation strategy on students’ engagement with the worked-examples and students’ perceptions of these activities within each context.

Teaching Computational Thinking Using Agile Software Engineering Methods: A Framework for Middle Schools

ACM Transactions on Computing Education - Wed, 08/23/2017 - 20:00
Ilenia Fronza, Nabil El Ioini, Luis Corral

Computational Thinking (CT) has been recognized as one of the fundamental skills that all graduates should acquire. For this reason, motivational concerns need to be addressed at an early age of a child, and reaching students who do not consider themselves candidates for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics disciplines is important as well if the broadest audience possible is to be engaged. This article describes a framework for teaching and assessing CT in the context of K-12 education. The framework is based on Agile software engineering methods, which rely on a set of principles and practices that can be mapped to the activities of CT.

Getting IT Together: A Longitudinal Look at Linking Girls' Interest in IT Careers to Lessons Taught in Middle School Camps

ACM Transactions on Computing Education - Wed, 08/23/2017 - 20:00
Christina N. Outlay, Alana J. Platt, Kacie Conroy

The dearth of women choosing information technology (IT) careers has been identified as a national problem in the United States. Efforts have been made to combat this by educating girls at a young age about technology. Recent research demonstrates that exposure to technology is insufficient to change young girls’ attitudes towards IT careers and that interventions must explicitly tie technology activities to careers. Faculty and staff of a Midwestern university modified an IT summer camp for middle school girls to include career specific programming. The camp deployed the Girls Educating Themselves about Information Technology (GET IT) program to garner interest among middle school girls in IT careers.

'First taste' video released from citizen science project capturing entire U.S. transit of solar eclipse

News From NSF - Tue, 08/22/2017 - 16:40

For most Americans in the path of totality, Aug. 21 was spent in awe of the first transcontinental solar eclipse in 40 years. For the scientists and volunteers at the National Science Foundation (NSF) National Solar Observatory (NSO) Citizen CATE (Continental-America Telescopic Eclipse) project, the 90-minute eclipse event meant participating in a historic science experiment. The project is the first to collect research-quality observations of the sun's corona during the transit across the ...
More at https://www.nsf.gov/news/news_summ.jsp?cntn_id=242904&WT.mc_id=USNSF_51&WT.mc_ev=click


This is an NSF News item.

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