Around the world, numerous countries are rushing to add computer science to school curricula. Given this sense of urgency, many curricula are being proposed and tried out, often with the goal of teaching “computational thinking”. Due to the lack of widespread expertise in computing education, technologists everywhere — many with a minimal understanding of schools — are being drafted to weigh in on curricula or are even designing their own, in some cases turning these into commercial ventures. In this climate, how should we actually address curriculum design? What are the constraints and affordances in schools, and what does it take for computation to actually be effective in teaching thinking? Given that curricula, once adopted, often stay in place for a long time, the need for research-driven designs is especially pressing. This talk will distill lessons from Bootstrap, one of the largest computing outreach programs in the USA, but the principles discussed apply across curricula, countries, and ages.
One particularly popular moment associated to the colloquium is the “Master Class” where students have the opportunity to give a short (but well-prepared) presentation of his/her work. Each presentation (10 minutes) is followed by an open discussion with the guest speaker (15 minutes) who gives a detailed feedback. The complete program is provided here.