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PREPARING TEACHERS IS DIFFERENT THAN 
PREPARING SOFTWARE DEVELOPERS 
Mark Guzdial 
6 November 2014
Do CS teachers need a CS degree? 
What do they need that’s different? 
2 
• Four stories: 
1. CS Teachers do different thi...
#1: CS Teachers do different things 
3 
What do successful CS teachers do? 
What makes a CS teacher successful? 
• Recruit...
How do you prepare your students for 
the AP CS exam? 
“Everything in that class is more or less an 
assessment. They’re s...
How do you prepare your students for 
the AP CS exam? 
“Everything in that class is more or less an 
assessment. They’re s...
How do you prepare your students for 
the AP CS exam? 
6 
And then if I read these [student quizzes], I can see any 
misco...
How do you prepare your students for 
the AP CS exam? 
7 
And then if I read these [student quizzes], I can see any 
misco...
A successful CS teacher… 
8 
• Writes assignments and comments, not code. 
• Guides students through rubrics, not syntax. ...
#2: Teachers want and need CK and PCK 
Pedagogical Content Knowledge 
What are the learning difficulties that teachers mig...
Teachers feel a need for more CK training 
[Becky]: “I struggle with giving everyone the material and 
being able to expla...
They may find CS inaccessible 
[May]: “I think, computer science is more for 
really, really smart people. I’m not saying ...
Phillip Sandler: 
Measuring Science PCK 
What do the 
most successful 
science teachers 
know? 
12
Students Pre-test on 
science knowledge 
Post-test on 
science 
knowledge 
Course
14 
Students Pre-test on 
science knowledge 
Post-test on 
science 
knowledge 
Teachers 
Pre-test on 
science knowledge 
P...
15 
Students Pre-test on 
science knowledge 
Post-test on 
science 
knowledge 
Teachers 
Pre-test on 
science knowledge 
P...
Students find CS-simple things 
complex 
16 
• Brian Dorn found that end-user 
programmers (CHI 2010) found 
assignment di...
Common Misconceptions about Assignment 
17 
number1 = 14 
number2 = number1 
• Assignment is a move. 
• number1 is now emp...
Common Misconceptions about Assignment 
18 
number1 = 14 
number2 = number1 This is not where 
• Assignment is a move. 
• ...
#3: CS Teachers Code to Teach 
But not always about programming. 
19
Long history of teaching with programming 
Seymour Papert’s Logo was a 
“mathland.” 
Turtle Geometry could be used to 
lea...
How sound works: 
Acoustics, the physics of sound
Let’s take Susan’s advice: 
Visualize this in a responsive manner 
22
Digitizing Sound: How do we 
get that into bytes? 
Remember in 
calculus, 
estimating the 
curve by creating 
rectangles? ...
Live coding here 
24 
Now let’s play with this.
What’s going on here? 
27 
• Inquiry-based 
• Peer instruction and making predictions 
• Learning about psychophysics and ...
Value of live coding 
Not the musical form (though 
that’s cool, too). 
Best practice for engaging 
women (Lecia Barker & ...
#4: Identity and Community 
We need our teachers to have a sense of 
identity: 
• More professional learning 
• Greater re...
Teachers need their Communities 
“I’m a better Math teacher, just because I’ve 
had so much support. Whenever I have 
prob...
Disciplinary Commons 
Group of educators from diverse 
institutions who teach within the same 
subject area meeting monthl...
DCCE in Georgia 
Disciplinary Commons for Computing Educators 
Adaptation – High School teachers AND university 
Goals 
1....
A High School DCCE 
Mtg Month Original DC Topic DCCE Schedule 
1 Oct 
Institutional Context & 
personal trajectory into 
t...
Building Community 
Partnerships Before (PRE) DCCE Partnerships After (POST) DCCE 
Overcoming isolation (comments) 
Feedba...
Improving Recruiting 
302% increase in number of AP CS students in the year 
following their participation in the DCCE 
Ye...
Conclusions 
Computer science teachers’ needs are different from software 
developers. 
• Computer science teachers commen...
Many thanks! 
Colleagues: Barbara Ericson, Tom McKlin, 
Lijun Ni, Briana Morrison, & Brian Dorn 
Our Funders: 
US National...
Thank you! 
http://www.cc.gatech.edu/~mark.guzdial 
Lab: http://home.cc.gatech.edu/csl 
Institute for Computing Education ...
They may find CS inaccessible 
[May]: “I think, computer science is more for really, really 
smart people. I’m not saying ...
CS Teachers are Different than Software Developers: WIPSCE 2014 Keynote
CS Teachers are Different than Software Developers: WIPSCE 2014 Keynote
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CS Teachers are Different than Software Developers: WIPSCE 2014 Keynote

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A computer science degree is neither necessary nor sufficient for success in teaching computer science

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CS Teachers are Different than Software Developers: WIPSCE 2014 Keynote

  1. 1. PREPARING TEACHERS IS DIFFERENT THAN PREPARING SOFTWARE DEVELOPERS Mark Guzdial 6 November 2014
  2. 2. Do CS teachers need a CS degree? What do they need that’s different? 2 • Four stories: 1. CS Teachers do different things. 2.CS Teachers know different things. 3.CS Teachers code to teach, not always about programming. 4. Identity and community are intertwined.
  3. 3. #1: CS Teachers do different things 3 What do successful CS teachers do? What makes a CS teacher successful? • Recruits more students into CS • High pass rate • Confident and satisfied with teaching CS
  4. 4. How do you prepare your students for the AP CS exam? “Everything in that class is more or less an assessment. They’re supposed to read certain sections in the book, and then they have quizzes over the reading. After they do the reading assignments, they have Gridworld case study quizzes and also Gridworld case study segments of code that they will go in and manipulate to change to get the things in the Gridworld case study to react different ways. Those are pretty much graded as labs or programs or quizzes.” 4
  5. 5. How do you prepare your students for the AP CS exam? “Everything in that class is more or less an assessment. They’re supposed to read certain sections in the book, and then they have quizzes over the reading. After they do the reading assignments, they have Gridworld case study quizzes and also Gridworld case study segments of code that they will go in and manipulate to change to get the things in the Gridworld case study to react different ways. Those are pretty much graded as labs or programs or quizzes.” 5
  6. 6. How do you prepare your students for the AP CS exam? 6 And then if I read these [student quizzes], I can see any misconceptions or gaps in what I’ve done. I get a picture in my mind of where the current class is. Making them do the explaining is new this year. I’m seeing them do a lot better there. I‘ll do like little code (assignments) that they’ll write once a week. They have to write it by hand away from the computer, and I’ll read that and write them comments on what they’re doing and help them grade it with a rubric, and also pass them back after I’ve read them for them to grade, too, and have them look at what was catching it or where it didn’t quite get to it.
  7. 7. How do you prepare your students for the AP CS exam? 7 And then if I read these [student quizzes], I can see any misconceptions or gaps in what I’ve done. I get a picture in my mind of where the current class is. Making them do the explaining is new this year. I’m seeing them do a lot better there. I‘ll do like little code (assignments) that they’ll write once a week. They have to write it by hand away from the computer, and I’ll read that and write them comments on what they’re doing and help them grade it with a rubric, and also pass them back after I’ve read them for them to grade, too, and have them look at what was catching it or where it didn’t quite get to it.
  8. 8. A successful CS teacher… 8 • Writes assignments and comments, not code. • Guides students through rubrics, not syntax. • Is interested in learning (coding away from the computer, explaining), not productivity. • Is not all that focused on assessment.
  9. 9. #2: Teachers want and need CK and PCK Pedagogical Content Knowledge What are the learning difficulties that teachers might anticipate? What are useful techniques for teaching this? 9
  10. 10. Teachers feel a need for more CK training [Becky]: “I struggle with giving everyone the material and being able to explain it to everyone… I struggle with how to be creative with the programming. I have a problem with trying to make the programs have meaning to them... It is hard to teach. It’s hard knowing how to teach it, how to give it to them… It’s hard to explain. When I look at kid’s codes, they think I should know it… They think that I should know it as soon as I look at it. For the longest time I thought I should, but I don’t have to. I have to study it just like they do. So, I would like some training.” From Lijun Ni’s 2011 thesis on CS teacher identity
  11. 11. They may find CS inaccessible [May]: “I think, computer science is more for really, really smart people. I’m not saying I’m smart, but I’m thinking that if I have to go take this Computer Science degree, that it’s going to be really hard, because it’s going to ask a lot of programming questions, syntax questions. I think computer science is a much higher level…”
  12. 12. Phillip Sandler: Measuring Science PCK What do the most successful science teachers know? 12
  13. 13. Students Pre-test on science knowledge Post-test on science knowledge Course
  14. 14. 14 Students Pre-test on science knowledge Post-test on science knowledge Teachers Pre-test on science knowledge Pre-test predicting what students would get wrong Course
  15. 15. 15 Students Pre-test on science knowledge Post-test on science knowledge Teachers Pre-test on science knowledge Pre-test predicting what students would get wrong Course Students who had the greatest pre->post differences had teachers who (a) got the knowledge right and (b) predicting the most common wrong answers
  16. 16. Students find CS-simple things complex 16 • Brian Dorn found that end-user programmers (CHI 2010) found assignment difficult to learn. • Dehnadi and Bornat tested understanding of assignment to predict CS1 success. • Test result couldn’t be replicated (MEC). • The predicting variable was consistent use of model of assignment. • Re: Quintin’s talk yesterday.
  17. 17. Common Misconceptions about Assignment 17 number1 = 14 number2 = number1 • Assignment is a move. • number1 is now empty. • Assignment is a swap. • Assignment is a relationship. • If we later change number1, number2 will automatically change.
  18. 18. Common Misconceptions about Assignment 18 number1 = 14 number2 = number1 This is not where • Assignment is a move. • number1 is now empty. • Assignment is a swap. • Assignment is a relationship. • If we later change number1, number2 will automatically change. software developers focus. This is exactly where teachers focus.
  19. 19. #3: CS Teachers Code to Teach But not always about programming. 19
  20. 20. Long history of teaching with programming Seymour Papert’s Logo was a “mathland.” Turtle Geometry could be used to learn about biology, physics, and even Einstein’s special theory of relativity. Bootstrap, EarSketch, and Performamatics are all examples of a cross-disciplinary approach. 20
  21. 21. How sound works: Acoustics, the physics of sound
  22. 22. Let’s take Susan’s advice: Visualize this in a responsive manner 22
  23. 23. Digitizing Sound: How do we get that into bytes? Remember in calculus, estimating the curve by creating rectangles? We can do the same to estimate the sound curve with samples.
  24. 24. Live coding here 24 Now let’s play with this.
  25. 25. What’s going on here? 27 • Inquiry-based • Peer instruction and making predictions • Learning about psychophysics and information and computing…and programming • Imagineered
  26. 26. Value of live coding Not the musical form (though that’s cool, too). Best practice for engaging women (Lecia Barker & NCWIT) – Shows the details of coding that are often unspoken. – Shows that even the teacher makes errors. – Shows how the teacher figures out errors. Reduces fear of programming and imposter syndrome. Programming as performance. 28
  27. 27. #4: Identity and Community We need our teachers to have a sense of identity: • More professional learning • Greater retention • (See ExploringCS retention report.) Where does that sense of identity come from? • For CS teachers, from community and role models. (Lijun Ni, 2011) 29
  28. 28. Teachers need their Communities “I’m a better Math teacher, just because I’ve had so much support. Whenever I have problems, I can talk with the people that I work with, most of who have taught for many years in Math.…Every day, I’m eating lunch with Math teachers. With Computer Science, I’ve got nobody to talk to.” 30 From Lijun Ni’s 2011 thesis on CS teacher identity
  29. 29. Disciplinary Commons Group of educators from diverse institutions who teach within the same subject area meeting monthly over an academic year. In monthly increments, the participants prepare a course portfolio. Goals 1. To document and share knowledge about student learning in Computer Science classrooms. 2. To establish practices for the scholarship of teaching by making it public, peer-reviewed, and amenable for future use and development by other educators. [1] [1] Tenenberg, J. and Fincher, S. Opening the door of the computer science classroom: the Disciplinary Commons. SIGCSE Bull., 39, 1 2007, 514-518.
  30. 30. DCCE in Georgia Disciplinary Commons for Computing Educators Adaptation – High School teachers AND university Goals 1. Creating community 2. Sharing resources and knowledge of how things are taught in other contexts AND… 3. Supporting student recruitment within the high school environment Work by Briana Morrison, Lijun Ni, Ria Galanos, Allison Elliott Tew
  31. 31. A High School DCCE Mtg Month Original DC Topic DCCE Schedule 1 Oct Institutional Context & personal trajectory into teaching Personal trajectory into teaching 2 Nov Curricular Context Institutional Context, Recruiting 3 Dec Course Content Curricular Context, Course Content 4 Jan Instructional Design Instructional Design 5 Feb Student Assessment Teaching Philosophy, Reflection Log 6 Mar Evaluation Student Assessment, Grading Rubrics 7 Apr Delivery (including debrief of peer observation) Peer Observation Debrief 8 May Complete “first draft” overview Student Feedback 9 June Portfolio Presentations Portfolio Presentations GA specific: GA university computing curricula, HS competitions, field trip possibilities
  32. 32. Building Community Partnerships Before (PRE) DCCE Partnerships After (POST) DCCE Overcoming isolation (comments) Feedback, diversity in environments
  33. 33. Improving Recruiting 302% increase in number of AP CS students in the year following their participation in the DCCE Year of participation – 122 students enrolled Next year – 491 students pre-registered One teacher 700% increase (3 to 24 students) Reason? 1. Platform to share recruitment ideas 2. Sense of community (keep up morale during recruiting)
  34. 34. Conclusions Computer science teachers’ needs are different from software developers. • Computer science teachers comment and read, but do little coding. • Focus is on students, not producing code. • Computer science teachers know content knowledge, and pedagogical content knowledge, including student misconceptions. • Computer science teachers care about student learning, and about more than just code. • Computer science teachers need a sense of identity which often comes from community. 36
  35. 35. Many thanks! Colleagues: Barbara Ericson, Tom McKlin, Lijun Ni, Briana Morrison, & Brian Dorn Our Funders: US National Science Foundation – Statewide BPC Alliance: Project “Georgia Computes!” http://www.gacomputes.org – Expanding Computing Education Pathways Alliance, http://expandingcomputing.org – CCLI and CPATH Grants, and now CE21 to produce new media Georgia’s Department of Education GVU Center, and Institute for People and Technology (iPaT) at Georgia Tech
  36. 36. Thank you! http://www.cc.gatech.edu/~mark.guzdial Lab: http://home.cc.gatech.edu/csl Institute for Computing Education at Georgia Tech: – http://coweb.cc.gatech.edu/ice-gt For more on MediaComp: http://www.mediacomputation.org
  37. 37. They may find CS inaccessible [May]: “I think, computer science is more for really, really smart people. I’m not saying I’m smart, but I’m thinking that if I have to go take this Computer Science degree, that it’s going to be really hard, because it’s going to ask a lot of programming questions, syntax questions. I think computer science is a much higher level… When I say computing, I think of computing as being able to operate the computer, … I believe that most students can successfully take and complete Computing in the Modern World, but it takes a little higher level of intelligence to complete the Introduction to Programming “

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