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Computer Science Institute Summary 2007

Ashley Dawkins's picture

Monday June 25, 2007

Morning: Paul Grobstein- Between Reality and the Virtual: Education in the 21st Century

The Institute began helping the teachers understand that the line between what we believe to be virtual and reality may not be as clear as we thought. In order to do this Paul used examples of ambiguous pictures to demonstrate how there are things in our world that can be perceived in many different ways. He then drew on his idea of story telling; stating that because of the different stories we have, we may see something different than another person. (/exchange/node/572)

In keeping with the spirit of encouraging computer use in the classroom, Paul suggests that we can think of computers like a telescope or microscope in the classroom. This suggests that computers should not be used to teach an entire math lesson; instead, it is a tool that aids classroom teachings. He used Net Logo to show that a computer can help students make observations that would normally be difficult to and they allow you to go places that may not be accessible.

Afternoon: Dora Wong- Web 2.0

This afternoon Dora came from Haverford College’s Science Library. Her purpose was to give the teachers a better idea of what Web 2.0 is and some challenges there are in using it. She also showed different forms a Web 2.0 highlighting how it is collaborative. Because it is collaborative she went into copyright issues and well as plagiarism.
Another issue related to Web 2.0 is an overload of information on the web. Narrowing down the information can be overwhelming and that there can be problems in effectively using the information from the web. Then, we took on Mind Maps for organizational purposes.

Tuesday June 26, 2007

Morning: Steve Cooper- Learning Computing with Alice

So far this week we have discussed the decline of people willing to study computer science. Along with this decline of people studying computer science, there is a lack of women and minorities more specially. It turns out that a computer program called Alice seems to draw females to programming. Within the program of Alice students are introduced to and explore program writing in a simpler fashion, but most importantly, they do it through storytelling. The storytelling element is attractive to not only females, but also minorities (especially those who have storytelling embedded in their cultures).
We then spent the morning exploring and programming Alice

Afternoon: Deepak Kumar-Motivating Learning with Robots

Deepak explored
1. What is a robot?
2. What is the connection between robots and computing
3. Are there similarities between gender and diversity in education?
We learned and discussed how robots are all around us; they sweep our floors, perform operations, and we can also send them where humans cannot go, etc. We also learned about the process in which computers go through to perform and simplified these processes to:
1. Do this, do this, do this – sequences
2. If something then do this, else do that
3. Repetition
4. Naming stuff
Most importantly we explored developing strategies of problem solving. There are many ways to solve a problem and it is a computer scientist’s job to figure out which way is more effective and efficient.
Then, in order to develop a better understanding of how robots work we did an activity in which we became a robot ourselves. The activity consisted of two boxes and four people; there was a right arm, left arm, eyes, and a brain. The idea was to use these four people to pick up one box and put it on top of the other one. The duties were as follows:
Right arm and left arm: could only do what the brain told them to do. The only response allowed was to say whether or not they were touching the box or not.
Eyes: could observe what the hands were doing. They could only report if the arms were touching the box or not and if it was above or below the box.
Brain: gave directions to the arms after receiving the data from the arms and the eyes.
This was an interesting activity that allowed us to see how amazing it is that robots can do anything at all.
We were then told to explore This site emphasizes women in science.

Wednesday June 27, 2007

Morning: Steven Lindell- Speech and Handwriting Technology for Accessible Computing

We first discussed the idea of “Universal Design”, something that is useful for the majority of the population and easy to access. We used the example of the production of automobiles. The earlier models were built mainly for males partly because the steering wheels were positioned too high for the average female. Speech Recognition
Who can benefit?
1. People with a handicap
2. Those who suffer with RSI (Repetitive Strain Injury)
3. Those who want to save time (doctors, lawyer, etc)
Handwriting Recognition
Who can benefit?
1. People with arthritis
2. The hearing impaired
3. People who collaborate on work
Along with exploring why and who should use these tools we also discussed the software available for them.

Afternoon: Dianna Xu- Graphics and Visualization in Education

I was not present for this talk

Thursday June 28, 2007

Morning: Jeff Popyack-Engaging Activities in Computing

Today Popyack suggested that we all are programmers. We have experience with VCRs, microwaves, etc. He also suggested that in order to engage students in computer science we must create interesting problems to motivate students. He then went into some things that he does for his students. Using everyday things that require computing, such as, laser tag and EZpass he teaches and tests his students in the processes involved for these things to operate correctly.

Afternoon: Dave Wonnacott

Today Wonnacott stressed the importance of naming and identifying the problem in which you are trying to solve as someone doing computer science. While Kumar focused on the actual process of problem solving, Wonnacott’s purpose was to demonstrate that before you can attempt to solve a problem you must first understand what you are trying to solve.

Friday June 29, 2007

Morning: Thomas Way and Mary- Angela Papalaskari- Magic and Theatre in Computing Education

Through magic Ways and Papalaskari integrate STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) and creative arts. They are apart of the Villanova Magic School . The magic school is a camp that uses magic to teach Philadelphia children about science. There is an emphasis of service learning; here young people teach the children coming in from Philadelphia.

We also received a magic book (and kit) that gave us ideas on how we could incorporate magic into a computer science classroom and possibly others.


Afternoon: J. D. Dougherty

We played BINGO in order to review what we learned for the week.