Charley Williams, from Villa Park, IL, sent me the following guest post today. It’s a real thinker or as Charley put it a “discussion-starter.” It puts me to mind of the CS Unplugged curriculum and some of the things taught in the CS4HS workshops created by Carnegie Mellon’s School of Computer Science.
I was working out at the YMCA this morning, when the lights suddenly went out.
So how much were folks affected? ...Surprisingly, almost not at all! We on the weight machines just kept lifting, people on the bikes just kept peddling. There were treadmill people whose "roads" suddenly stopped moving; they organized their own group and went outside to the nearby running path.
...which got me to thinking --> If the lights suddenly went out in a CS classroom, how much would it impact us?
Here's what I think --> If a teacher is focused "too much" (my opinion) on how to use specific tools, how to use particular features of certain software packages (i.e. how to apply clip-art in PowerPoint, how to use the debugger in Visual Studio), then when you lose your computers, you pretty much lose the purpose of your class. Not that the tools aren't important, but are they driving the learning goals of the class?
In a "good CS class" (again, my opinion), your electricity can go out, your computers can be taken away, and you can still have a class that's every bit as valuable! This means you're studying problem-solving processes, algorithms, design methods, and evaluating the correctness and efficiency of what you've designed. Sure, computers can help us do this much faster, but what you're really learning isn't dependent on a computer at all, necessarily.
Just a thought...
What are your thoughts on this? Please join the conversation!