Mark Guzdial to Speak 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 on campus about improving computer education.

On Wednesday, April 25 at 4 p.m. in 150-51 Computer Science Building, Guzdial will present “Using Learning Sciences Research to Improve Computing Teaching: Predictions, Subgoals, and Examples+Practice.” There will be an open reception at 3:30 p.m. The event is hosted by the College of Information and Computer Sciences (CICS).

Guzdial says researchers still understand too little about the cognitive difficulties of learning programming. In this talk, he describes 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.

On Thursday, April 26 from noon to 1:30 p.m. in 102 Furculo Hall, there will be an open lunch at which Guzdial will discuss “Research Issues Around Preparing Computing Educators.” The event is hosted by the College of Education.

Guzdial says 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. In this talk, he reviews 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 e-books that help high school teachers learn computer science.

Along with UMass 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 part of CICS.

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 ECEP Alliance. Co-sponsors are the CICS, the College of Education, and the department of teacher education and curriculum studies.