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Submission + - Programming is Heading Back to School (

the agent man writes: "Researchers at the University of Colorado at Boulder are exploring what it takes to systematically get programming back to public schools. They have created a game design based curriculum, called Scalable Game Design, using the AgentSheets computational thinking tool. Annual summer institutes train middle schools teachers from from around the USA to teach their students computational thinking through game design and computational science simulations.

What is truly unique about this is that it is not an after-school program; it takes place during regular school courses. Entire school districts are participating with measurable impacts, increasing the participation of women in high school CS courses from 2% six years ago to 38-59% now. The project explores new computing education pedagogies with thousands of students in diverse areas including inner city, remote rural and Native American communities. About 45% of our participants so far are female; 56% are non-white students and most of them want to continue. Educators are interested not only in the motivational impact, but also the acquisition of useful 21st Century skills. They would like to be able to ask students “Now that you can make Space Invaders, can you also make a science simulation?” To explore this difficult question of transfer, the researchers devised new mechanisms to compute computational thinking. They analyze every game submitted by students to extract computational thinking patterns and to see if students can transfer these skills to creating science simulations.

More information about Scalable Game Design can be found in their project site:"

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Programming is Heading Back to School

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