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Making Computing Fun Again: Passion, Beauty, Joy, and Awe on Khan Academy

Making Computing Fun Again: Passion, Beauty, Joy, and Awe on Khan Academy

Presented at SIGCSE 2016 for PBJA session. See this Dropbox for other panelist's slides: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/5ka53m1u508coig/AAA-WhmFgcHDaCqSne8mFvhua?dl=0

Pamela Fox

March 03, 2016
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  1. Making Computing Fun Again
    DISCOVERING PASSION, BEAUTY, JOY, AND AWE ON KHAN ACADEMY

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  2. Why do I care?
    2
    Me, discovering computing…
    …AKA discovering how darn fun it was:

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  3. How it started: The real-time environment
    4
    ACE editor
    JSHint ! BabyHint ! Loop Checker
    ProcessingJS

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  4. …and look what they made!
    5
    BEAUTY-fUL!

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  5. Next step: An interactive curriculum
    6
    talk-throughs
    challenges
    Drawing
    Variables
    Animation
    Text
    Functions
    Logic
    Looping
    Arrays
    Objects

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  6. Self-paced
    7
    DON’t STIFLE the passion!
    https://medium.com/@pamelafox/let-students-learn-programming-at-their-own-pace-dc18cb23e131#.xb76c6pjm
    “I used Khan Academy because
    allowed for differentiation between
    students. I love how it allowed our
    valedictorian and our lowest ranked
    student to coexist in the same class
    without either getting bored."
    progress in a class after 5 hours:

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  7. Finally: Deeper learning with projects
    8
    + peer evaluations
    from this… …to these!
    JOY!
    "The projects are fun and lead to ideas for more projects.”
    "I LOVED evaluating projects."
    "The projects really challenged me & forced me think about the skills
    I'm learning in order to apply them."
    …and struggle!

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  8. Improving the curriculum: talk-throughs
    9
    BEFORE
    AFTER
    quantitative qualitative
    + council of elders

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  9. Improving the curriculum: challenges
    10
    quantitative qualitative

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  10. 11
    Hopper (...is a HER!)
    Winston
    Oh Noes Guy,
    the Error Buddy
    The whimsy! JOYFUL! JOYFUL!

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  11. 12
    Community & collaboration
    Content questions
    Help requests

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  12. Sharing & discovering programs
    13
    Awesome!

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  13. 14
    wow!
    Contests & clubs

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  14. 15
    Does this approach work for everyone?
    • Gender: Yes! 60%/40% male/female student ratio, with equal completion rates
    across genders.
    • Age: Varies. <1 2 years old have lower completion rates, especially as course gets
    harder (e.g. logic). Adults have lower retention rates, due to getting busier or not
    finding it practical enough.
    cs-blog.khanacademy.org/2014/03/challenge-completion-across-gender-and_4.html

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