[Edu-sig] F.Y.I.: this month's cover story for CACM is "OLPC: Vision vs. Reality" (cross posted)

Scott David Daniels Scott.Daniels at Acm.Org
Tue May 26 18:37:35 CEST 2009

gerry_lowry (alliston ontario canada) wrote:
<heading> F.Y.I.: this month's cover story for CACM is
           "OLPC: Vision   vs. Reality" (cross posted)
> http://www.acm.org/ 

Also note, in this issue Mark Guzdial has a "Viewpoints" article
entitled "Education Teaching Computing to Everyone."  The article
discusses Georgia Tech's policy of "all undergraduates students must
take a CS course" experiences for the last ten years.  They talk a
lot about the success they've had, but at the cost of making several
distinct courses.  The requirement they used was, "students would
'be able to make algorithmic and data structure choices' when writing
programs."  Initially they used a course that had a success rate (end
wit C or better) of 78% overall, but architecture, management, and
public policy majors were at below 50%.  Also, females failed at twice
the rate of males.

After moving to the newer cross-developed courses, they had those three
groups all at over 85% success.  They did three basic courses, the
ongoing CS course, a MATLAB-based course for engineers, and a "media
computation" (manipulate sound and images (really, at the level of pixel
manipulation, not just crop and bind) using Python.  The media course
used Python as the language.  The new media course achieved an 85%
success rate for the three groups above, and had women succeeding at
"the same or better rates than the male students."  Apparently Guzdial
wrote the thextbook for the media course, "Introduction to Computing and
Programming in Python, a Multimedia Approach," Prentice Hall, 2005.
This change was so successful that, second courses for both engineering
and media are now in place (the demand was high), and they've introduced
a CS minor.

--Scott David Daniels
Scott.Daniels at Acm.Org

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