Original submissions in all areas related to primary and secondary computing education are invited. Topics of interest include, but are not limited to:

Special Theme

What do we know about our learners?

Learning, as conceived by current learning theories, works best if it matches the existing knowledge, competencies and attitudes of the learner. Thus teachers need to know and make use of these current notions of their learners. What do we know about these, and what are suitable empirical instruments to uncover them?


Susan Rodger: Engaging Students by Making Computer Science Concepts Come Alive

A picture is worth a thousand words. An engaging learning experience can also be worth a thousand words. Traditional lectures are ineffective with students only retaining a small amount of knowledge. Students who engage with their learning are both more likely to retain more knowledge and feel better about the learning process. What are ways to engage students in learning?
Students might engage by interacting with a group of students or even with the whole class to solve a problem. Students might engage by interacting with software that lets them explore concepts and provides feedback. We describe the many ways we have found to engage students in learning computer science concepts by making those concepts come alive.

Susan Rodger is a Professor of the Practice in the Computer Science Department at Duke University. She received her PhD in computer science from Purdue University and was at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute for five years before moving to Duke University in 1994. Rodger's research interests include interactive and visual software and computer science education. Rodger and her students built the software JFLAP, which is used worldwide in automata theory courses. She is now investigating ways to integrate computing into K-12, and runs workshops on the Alice programming language for K-12 teachers. A more recent project is writing a guide on how to write Wikipedia pages for Notable Women in Computing. Her awards include the 2013 Karl V. Karlstrom Outstanding Educator Award, ACM Distinguished Educator and a finalist in the 2007 NEEDS Premier Award for Excellence in Engineering Education Courseware (for JFLAP). She is currently SIGCSE Chair, and is on the CRA-W Board and the ACM Education Policy Committee.

Mark Guzdial: Preparing Teachers is Different than Preparing Software Developers

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 computing teacher in primary or secondary school are dramatically different than that of a software developer. Computing teachers need pedagogical content knowledge, which includes awareness of common misconceptions, methods for diagnosing those misconceptions, and interventions to help students develop more robust conceptions. The job of a software developer requires knowledge and skills that are irrelevant for a computing teacher. To meet the worldwide need for computing teachers, we must design new kinds of learning opportunities that address the requirements of teachers.
In this talk, I will present the findings from our studies of the best practices of successful computing teachers, and describe our efforts in finding new ways to support teacher learning about computing. We find that our most successful teachers read and comment code all the time, but almost never write code. The most successful teachers know the content, but also know the most common misconceptions for that content. We find that on-line learning is challenging for teachers to fit into their lives, but we can make learning opportunities that teachers will stick with if we emphasize activities that are lower-cognitive than just writing code on a blank sheet of paper.

Mark Guzdial is a Professor in the School of Interactive Computing in the College of Computing at Georgia Institute of Technology. He is a learning scientist who focuses on computing education research. He co-leads an effort to develop electronic books to support teacher learning about computing. He is one of the leads on the Expanding Computing Education Pathways (ECEP) alliance to help US states improve and broaden participation in computing education. He serves on the ACM's Education Council, and is on the editorial boards of the "Journal of the Learning Sciences," "ACM Transactions on Computing Education," and "Communications of the ACM." With his wife and colleague, Barbara Ericson, he received the 2010 ACM Karl V. Karlstrom Outstanding Educator award. He was also the recipient of the 2012 IEEE Computer Society Undergraduate Teaching Award.

Questions? Please contact
Carsten Schulte (Dept. of Computer Science Education, Freie Universität Berlin), Judith Gal-Ezer (Dept. of Mathematics and Computer Science, Open University of Israel) or Michael E. Caspersen (Centre for Science Education, Aarhus University).