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Interactive video lesson plan for: Animal Tlatoque: Attracting Target Groups to Computer Science Through Socially Relevant Themes

Activity overview:

Google Tech Talk (more info below)
May 12, 2011

Presented by Professor Diana Franklin, UC Santa Barbara.

ABSTRACT

A popular approach to introducing students to computer science is to engage middle-school students in fun programming activities. One challenge in such a program is attract- ing students who are not already positively predisposed to computing.

In order to attract a diverse audience, we developed a summer program based on culturally-relevant themes that appealed to our two target audiences, females and Latina/os. This paper describes our success in developing and implementing a computing curriculum and recruiting materials for a 2-week summer camp integrating two themes, animal conservation and Mayan culture. Scratch programming was used to engage students in creating animations about animals and Mayan culture, allowing them an interdisciplinary experience that combined programming, culture, biology, art, and storytelling.

Our recruiting efforts resulted in an application pool that was 73% female and 67% Latina/o, with only 6.5% in neither group. We had 34 students complete the program. Pre- and post- surveys showed that the number of students citing computer science as their top choice for a career doubled and interest in computer science as a career tripled.

Speaker Info:

Diana Franklin is tenured teaching faculty and Director of the Center for Computing Education and Diversity at UCSB. Franklin received her Ph.D. from UC Davis in 2002 and is a recipient of the NSF CAREER award. She was an assistant professor (2002-2007) and associate professor (2007) of Computer Science at the California Polytechnic State University, during which she held the Forbes Chair (2002-2007). Her research interests include parallel programming and architecture, computing education, and ethnic and gender diversity in computing.

Tagged under: education@google,computer science education

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