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CompSci K16 Collaborations Institute - Day 1

Paul Grobstein's picture
Welcome to the on line forum area for the 2008 K16 Collaborations Computer Science Education Summer Institute. This is a place for leaving thoughts that have arisen during the institute sessions, finding thoughts left by others. and continuing conversations about the role of computing in education. Remember to log in with your username and password before posting. Others are welcome to join the conversation, but their comments will be delaying in appearing to prevent spam.
helery2's picture


Hai, I have to learn to wrap my brain around many of these Ideas: Starting with computers should be approached for inquiry and not just for answers. Many times our students only get to utilize technology when it's time to research a topic. The computers useing meny students has more.... farverd in computers................

LuisanaT's picture

“Must one learn in order to adapt?”- Grobstein

If we take a look at the way evolution functions, the combination of a random change in the individual at a certain time and place work together well to allow that individual to survive. Darwin’s finches did not learn that if their beaks were a little different they would be able to eat different and therefore more types of foods found on different parts of the Galapagos Islands. Similarly, (refuting Lamarckism,) a giraffe did not learn that if they grow their necks, they will be able to reach leaves located higher up on a tree. Most forms of adaptation simply are not performed on a conscious level; randomness is not intentional.

And so the answer to the question Grobstein posed is no; you do not have to learn in order to adapt. Applying this belief to education, it should not be necessary for students to learn by heedlessly memorizing information to change and be capable of passing a standardize examinations and getting an education.

LuisanaT's picture

A comment made about the role it should play



One person’s response to third question regarding the web/internet’s role when educating that was made out loud during the class yesterday was "Educate, do not contaminate,” contamination being providing information that is not "true.” There are definitely a lot of issues that arise when utilizing the internet and computer programs for class assignments including accuracy and security that are almost always, unfortunately, unavoidable.



Judith Lucas-Odom's picture


Computers are an excellent source to enhance what is and what we think is reality real or virtual. When we were going over the Langton's ant and the Conway's dot game, it made me think about half of what we do in life is not learned it was just the program that we received at birth. Our brains(the computer) was programed by our creator and we are just wandering around following the instructions thinking that we have now learned something new. I think that our brains have all the capabilties to function outside of the box and education is the key to unlock the pattern that is already imprinted in our brain! Good Story!
Hemant Mishra's picture

Reality & Virtuality

What are the implications of Education ?

The discussion was begin with this question-

Mr. Paul was providing us the great examples of

Population explsion- that revealed the fact that there is uncertainity regarding the explosion of the population, this is virtuality having pace mwith the reality.

The World of Langton's Ant:Thinking about "Purpose"

we observed that there was no fixed pattern regarding the movement of the ant, then -The line between reality and the virtual is becoming, will continue to become increasingly blurred .

We also discussed about the Disconstruct and Reconstruct the Knowledge.

Also Learn to reconstruct experiences with Students

Students need to acquire increased sophistication in working in the space between reality and the virtual ... in virtuality Computers and virtual worlds have an important role to play in enhancing such sophistication regarding the communication by the educators to their students.

Computer models, like any other subject of exploration, need to be approached as incentives for inquiry rather than as answers , this can be very supporting in achieveing the goals of education.

joycetheriot's picture

Virtual Ant Game

The ant program had a short set of directions and eventually established a pattern based on its ability to change its environment. Obstacles were only changed by the ant’s original directions and therefore eliminated. If the obstacle is the only way to introduce a random event then the only result is a time difference for the ant to establish a pattern. Perhaps more chaos would emerge if the ant’s set of directions could be corrupted. I see this as both a game of ecology, pollution and even evolution if the game added that random changes could happen to the set of directions.
Diane OFee-Powers's picture

Thin Line BEtween Reality and Virtuality

I have to learn to wrap my brain around many of these ideas: starting with computers should be approached for inquiry and not just for answers. Many times our students only get to utilize technology when it's time to research a topic. 

The biggest concept that I have to LEARN is that computers and the virtual world do play an important role in education. Actually, I know and believe the importance of the computer's importance to education, now I am working on understanding that kids need to have more time playing in virtual activities to gain their sophistication in technology and constructing thier own truths.

Sunila D Gorde's picture

Perception is different from

Perception is different from reality.As teachers we should encourage students to deconstruct and reconstruct what they see.
sanmuth's picture

Teaching and Virtuality

Students need to work with software and manipulatives to be able to project what will happen in various situtations. Learning situations which stimulate various aspects of their thinking are necessary so that students can begin to understand concepts and be able to formulate ideas.
Diane OFee-Powers's picture

Virtual Living

Living in Virtual World

When I first started teaching, I was introduced to the phrase “It’s a Child’s Truth.” This phrase kept running through my head as Paul was speaking this morning. This made me think of all of my truths that I held onto deeply this school year, and the truths my students held on to, and of course, is that there were times when our realities collided.

In August I will be participating in the Philadelphia Writing Project, which focuses on social justice for students. The theme of “realities” and “social justice” is something I would like to focus on this summer and next school year.

Hemant Mishra's picture

Optical Illusions/Ambiguous Figures/Construction& Deconstruction

The Brain does not tell Reality about the objects,

Brain gives the BEST GUESS



Preassumption by the BRAIN makes the inforamtion AMBIGUOUS


By Construction & Deconstruction things can be made AMBIGUOIS


" Educator can help students by providing more sophisticated information through Informed Guess and by questioning Construction & Deconstruction ideas".

Hemant Mishra's picture

Between reality & virtual: Education in the 21 st Century

What role do computers and the internet/web play in education today?

# provide access tovast information about almost everything

# Fast & Easy solutions of most of the problems

#Time Utility,

#Place Utility,

#Form Utility.

Q-Role willbe played by the Computer in future?

#Communication between Educators and Learners,

#  impact,



 Effectiveness   on Education

Paul Grobstein's picture

Teaching in virtuality

In what ways might the discussion of virtuality impact on your teaching in general? Are there particular approaches/materials used in this discussion that could be adapted for use in your own classroom?

Look over what others have had to say in this forum and comment on any that seem interesting to you. And provide any additional thoughts that you think might be helpful to others.

jrlewis's picture

How are virtuality and

How are virtuality and computer science related? Is computer science really a science? What are its stories about? Are they about virtuality? Puzzle solving? Artificial technology?
Charlene Miller's picture

The impact of Virtuality on

The impact of Virtuality on teaching ...This is somewhat confusing.

Using the computer to expose the students to what they might not otherwise see seems to be the perfect application of technology.

Setting up the environment for this application will be challenging for me.

The students will be looking for what they should be doing.

Karen Carrigan's picture

the discussion of virtuality

To me, the purpose is to have students use the games and learn to think then apply their thoughts to their own reality.
David McMenimen's picture

the discussion of virtuality

The discussion of virtuality can be implemented in the classroom,by asking students to predict outcomes and why .The ant game could be used to have students determine answers to the questions why is this happening?
joycetheriot's picture

Teaching in Virtuality

Although our brains use background experience and knowledge gained to make an informed decision about what IS, we can additionally use technology to help inform our conclusion. My students are trained in science to question and use what others have found out to inform their conclusions. They are told on a regular basis that science is a reasonable explanation of some phenomena which may change when better ideas emerge. We have regular discussions and groups will reveal and defend their conclusions based on the evidence they have gathered. This is good practice for testing reality. Another test is to observe whether the popular, funny or attractive student will gain acceptance even though their stated evidence is inferior. My typical comment is that this is why we have the caliber of politicians running our country and make them aware that they need to start now to develop a critical eye and look for the evidence delivered.
Judith Lucas-Odom's picture

Teaching in Virtuality

In my reality everything is wonderful and fine but the other realities get in the way of my peaceful existence. I have learned to ignore some of those realities and adjust to others. In education, it is very important to get my students to think out of the box. Adjusting to what my students think is real and important and what I think is real and important can be a challenge but there is always a happy median in my reality, my classroom. Education helps to get my students to that place of peaceful coexistence (sometimes)! This is my story and I am sticking to it!!!

Karen Carrigan's picture

It is necessary to realize

It is necessary to realize that the students might be seeing things differently than you think. Their reality might be very different than yours.
sanmuth's picture

Computers are a tool that

Computers are a tool that students must be able to master in order to meet the demands of today and tomorrow. Such aspects as written communications, research and other educational skills are growing more and more dependent on computers and computer-driver equipment, such as Promethian boards.

It seems that computers will play a greater part in daily life as well as education in the future. Based on the growth of computer usage in business, school and home, I would expect to see computers continue to grow in importance.


In education, as long as we continue to employ many different techniques to reach our children, the computer offers many creative possibilites to teach virtually every subject. Educators must meet the challenge to learn to use technology to the best of their abilities to make it work for all of our children. Those refusing to embrace technology will be left in the past, offering less to themselves as well as the children that they teach.

Paul Grobstein's picture

Living in virtuality

What we see is not "reality" but rather a "story," a construction of our brains that may be different in different people, different at different times for the same person, and is always challengeable. Your thoughts about this? about its implications for education?
Marita Wagner's picture

Reality-- a story?

Help!!!! I'm beginning to feel like DesCartes in bed having a nightmare. Am I thinking? Therefore am I? If I don't have any convictions how can I have any courage? I feel like I'm just drifting in a stream of unconsciousness.
jrlewis's picture

Yes, you are thinking!

Yes, you are thinking! You're convictions are derived from your thoughts. Therefore, you are. We are discussing where you are, what you experience, how that relates to everyone else. Does that help?
Paul Grobstein's picture

Computers and education: starting thoughts

Questions to start

  • What role do computers and the internet/web play in education today?
  • What role will they play in the future?
  • What role should they play?
Chantal's picture

The role of computer use in

The role of computer use in education is enormous in accessing information, in reporting on and documenting student progress and in communicating to parents.

I believe computer use will play an increasingly important role in accessing information, doing research, documenting student progress and in other areas we haven't yet thought about.


Computers should serve as a tool for teachers, students and parents.

Mary Ellen McGinnity's picture

Computers and education

Roles of computers in education today:

  • wide variety of sources for information/research/shared discussions
  • stimulate student/teacher problem-solving strategies and critical thinking skills
  • aid in differentiated thinking
  • create opportunities for connecting classrooms globally
  • integrate areas of study with music, literature, virtual reality, video, multi-media presentations by students, etc.

In the future:

  •  continue/expand all of the above
  • provide discussion on issues of privacy, ethics, reliability of sources, etc.
  • create job opportunities

Roles computers should play:

  • Be a tool to extend classroom beyond the walls
  • Provide access to ideas, opinions, research, etc.
  • Open lines of communication between students, parents, colleagues
  • Heighten awareness of global issues
Marita Wagner's picture

computers role in education/future

Today computers are the primary channel for information gathering/sharing/processing and recording. They play an essential role in society's endeavors and thus are essential in today's educational progams. Computer technology will only increase in its influence and importance in the future---even beyond what we can imagine at this point in time.
Sunila D Gorde's picture

1.Faster,current and vast

1.Faster,current and vast information available .It has acces to links all over and can be used for multidisciplinary connections.

2.Role in future :It can save lot of time and can be used anywhere at any time.

3.Computers should be helpul and benefit the students and enrich and enhance their learning skills and capabilities.

Diane OFee-Powers's picture

Computers in Education

The role of computers in education today depends on where the education is taking place. There is an uneven playing field in education, and especially in the access to technology. Depending on what technology the students have at home, what technology there is at the school and in the school district determines the role of computers etc in today's education.

I hope that technology in the future could level the playing field in education if all districts implemented the use of technology in all classrooms.

Technology should be used  in conjunction with traditional teaching methods, and not to replace lectures, reading, writing ect. Students should be able to pay attention to people and books the way they can pay attention to a video game!

David McMenimen's picture

What role should they play.

Computers should play an important part of education.The computer should help the brain make different choices using data.
joycetheriot's picture

Role of computers

Computers are used in education today to extend the classroom. Students use visualizations created with programs like Google Earth or talk face to face with an astronaut doing experiments in space. This proves that a classroom is no longer bound by four walls.
Judith Lucas-Odom's picture

The role of the computer in education today

The computer is an essential part of education today. The cost of textbooks are increasing and funding is decreasing, the computer can be used as a successful tool!

The future of  the computer is now!  The virtual classroom is already here.

The computer should be used as a tool and not a replacement.  Computer has its own flaws.

Personally, I like computers and use them a lot but my students do not always have access to them. 

Karen Carrigan's picture

What role should they play?

teach, benefit all, be accessible to all, create a better society/world
Charlene Miller's picture

Questions to start

In education today, I see computers being used for writing, research, games, assessment.(elementary school)

In the future, I see computers being used in place of textbooks, communication between teacher and students, and being more user friendly.

The role they should play should be one of giving access to information to all, showing connections between different topics

David McMenimen's picture

What role will they play in the future?

Students will be able to use the computer for endless tasks.All applications to provide information have yet to be developed.Students can learn with and without teachers help from computer applications.
Karen Carrigan's picture

What role will they play in the future?

Inform, practice, communicate, plan, and any new ideas people can conceive of.
David McMenimen's picture

What role do computers and the internet/web play in education to

Computers allow students to research subjects they are studying.Students can communicate all over the world with other students.Students will be able to communicate with tearchers .
Karen Carrigan's picture

What role do computers and the internet/web play in education to

Inform, practice, commumicate, plan, etc.