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Georgia Tech’s Mark Guzdial to Give Public Talks on How Research Can Inform Computer Science Educators

Mark Guzdial
Mark Guzdial

Mark Guzdial, professor in the School of Interactive Computing in the College of Computing at Georgia Institute of Technology, will give two public talks at UMass Amherst April 25 and 26.

On Wednesday, April 25 at 4:00 p.m., Guzdial will present "Using Learning Sciences Research to Improve Computing Teaching: Predictions, Subgoals, and Examples+Practice" in the Computer Science building, Room 150-151. There will be an open reception at 3:30 p.m. The event, hosted by the College of Information and Computer Sciences, will conclude at 5:00 p.m.

Abstract: Researchers still understand too little about the cognitive difficulties of learning programming, but we now have several new methods that draw on lessons from across learning sciences. In this talk, I describe three examples of ways to teach computing that are just starting to appear in computer science classes. We can use prediction to help students retain knowledge from in-class live coding. We can improve learning and transfer by using subgoal labeling. We can use Examples+Practice to provide more flexible and efficient ways to learn programming.

An open lunch and public talk is scheduled for Thursday, April 26 at noon to 1:30 p.m., where Guzdial will discuss, "Research Issues Around Preparing Computing Educators." The event is hosted by the College of Education and will be held in Furculo 102.

Abstract: Preparing teachers to teach computing is more than a matter of re-purposing existing courses for computer science majors. The tasks, knowledge, and skills of a CS teacher are dramatically different than that of a software developer. To meet the worldwide need for computing teachers, we must design new kinds of learning opportunities that address the needs of teachers. In this talk, I review research questions being asked about public policy, strategies for teaching and learning, and how to develop sustainable infrastructure for computing education, like teacher professional development.

Guzdial studies how people come to understand computing and how to make that more effective. He leads the CSLearning4U project to create ebooks that help high school teachers learn computer science.

Along with University of Massachusetts Amherst professor emeritus Rick Adrion, Guzdial is a principal investigator for Expanding Computing Education Pathways (ECEP), a National Science Foundation (NSF) Broadening Participation in Computing Alliance (BPC-A), which seeks to increase the number and diversity of students in the pipeline to computing and computing-intensive degrees by promoting state-level computer science education reform. ECEP is a part of the UMass Amherst's College of Information and Computer Sciences.

Guzdial invented "Media Computation," which uses media as a context for learning computing. With his wife and colleague, Barbara Ericson, he received the 2010 Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) Karl V. Karlstrom Outstanding Educator award. He is an ACM Distinguished Educator and a Fellow of the ACM.

These talks are sponsored by the Expanding Computing Education Pathways (ECEP) Alliance, a part of the UMass Amherst's College of Information and Computer Sciences. Co-sponsors of the talks are the College of Information and Computer Sciences, the College of Education, and the Department of Teacher Education and Curriculum Studies in the College of Education.