Princeton ACM education panel summary
In the Dec. 7, 2017 Princeton ACM meeting, we had four speakers on CS Education topics:
- Daryl Detrick (President of Computer Science Teachers Assocation of NJ - CSTA-NJ, and a high school teacher in Warren NJ)
- Arta Szathmary (Emeritus Professor at Bucks County College)
- Jan Buzydlowski (Professor at Holy Family University)
- Rebecca Mercuri (Software technology consultant at Notable Software, Visiting Professor at Drew University)
Some notes from each of the presentations
Daryl Detrick - CS in New Jersey schools
Legislative action from the New Jersey state legislature on Computer Science Education:
A3440/S2030 (passed and signed by the governor - Jan. 19, 2016)
- The Department of Education shall undertake a review of the Core Curriculum Content Standards to ensure that they incorporate modern computer science standards where appropriate.
A2597/S2161 (passed and signed by the governor - Jan. 19, 2016)
- Advanced Placement computer science course to statisfy a part of the total credit requirements in mathematics
Pending legislation -- still not voted on by the NJ State Assembly
A3870/S2397 (passed NJ State Senate in Feb. 2017, still awaiting final vote in NJ State Asssembly)
- Creates a computer science teaching endorsement.
A2873/S2487 (passed NJ State Senate in Jun. 2017, still awaiting final vote in NJ State Asssembly)
- Requires all high schools in NJ to offer computer science class by 2018/2019 (but it isn't a requirement for graduation)
Petition to the NJ legislature
Daryl Detrick and the CSTA-NJ chapter are trying to get the Assembly speaker to schedule a vote on the last two bills before the end of the legislative session in the first week of January
More information on CSTA-NJ:
Arta Szathmary - Computational Thinking
Arta Szathmary talked about Computational Thinking -- and showed some of the ways that it is taught in other countries. In the UK, there are guidelines and activities in four different areas of CT. These are ideas that can be applied in many areas of study, not just computer programming:
- Decomposition (breaking things down into smaller parts)
- Pattern Recognition (looking for similarities or trends)
- Abstraction (focusing on what's important, ignoring what is unnecessary)
- Algorithmic Design (create a set of step-by-step instructions)
Here is a UK website that gives more information about these Computational Thinking concepts
ISTE also has a set of Educational Technology Standards for Students
- Lifelong Kindergarten by Ken Robinson and Mitchel Resnick
- Out of the Box by Jemma Westing (how to make many things out of corregated cardboard)
Arta showed a number of toys and games related to technology, electronics,
- Code Monkey Island
- ROBOT Turtles
- Snap Circuits
- Binary Bracelets
- Code Master
Arta's email: email@example.com
Jan Buzydlowski - Data Analysis in Python
Jan Buzydlowski uses a combination of Python tools and libraries to teach Data Analysis.
- The Jupyter tool is a useful notebook-based Python interpreter environment for managing exploratory programming.
- The NumPy library is a Python library for organizing numerical data -- especially good for supporting multi-dimensional arrays.
- The MatPlotLib library is a Python library for drawing simple 2-dimensional graphs.
- The Pandas library supports "data frames" (a useful concept introduced in the R language).
- The Anaconda environment is a collection of many useful Python libraries, and installing Anaconda is a good one-step process for getting NumPy, Pandas,
Rebecca Mercuri - Teaching Introductory Python with PyGame
Rebecca Mercuri used the first 10 lessons from the Program Arcade Games website in her Introduction to Python course at Drew University this semster. The results were -- a high level of motivation by the students, pretty good progress in learning Python concepts. There was one drawback... it is somewhat complicated to set up PyGame on the students' computers.