Planting the Seeds of Computational Thinking: An Introduction to Programming Suitable for Inclusion in STEM Curricula

Hello ACM’ers,

Come and join us to learn about the current efforts and initiatives to encourage capable students to enter Computer Science without fear of Math!

Location: CS 221
Date: Friday, Sept 9
Time: 1:00-2:00 PM (Note special time)
Speaker: Eric Freudenthal

Synopsis

Inadequate math preparation discourages many capable students – especially those from traditionally underrepresented groups – from pursuing or succeeding in STEM academic programs. iMPaCT is a family of Media Propelled‖ courses and course enrichment activities that introduce students to Computational Thinking.‖ iMPaCT integrates exploration of math and programmed computation by engaging students in the design and modification of tiny programs that render raster graphics and simulate familiar kinematics. Through these exercises, students gain experience and confidence with foundational math concepts necessary for success in STEM studies, and an understanding of programmed computation.

In this talk, I describe iMPaCT and present early results from our formal evaluation of semester-length iMPaCT courses indicating improved academic success in concurrently and subsequently attended math courses. They also indicate changes to the nature of student engagement with problem solving using mathematics. I also describe iMPaCT-STEM, a nascent effort of computer science,mathematics, and electrical engineerng faculty to distill iMPaCT’s pedagogy into sequences of short learning activities designed to teach and reinforce a variety of mathematical and kinematic concepts that can be directly integrated into math and science courses.

Miners Planting Globally

On October 10, 2010, the ACM joined a little over 10 student organizations in front of the Academic Services Building to plant 10 trees on campus grounds. The event was hosted by 350.org as an attempt to share the world’s oxygen and reduce CO2 emissions to 350 parts per million. Even though the ACM is a technology oriented organization, it is open to any kind of event or activity.

By participating in this event, the ACM was able to take part in an activity that would not only improve our environment, but also increase the beauty of the UTEP campus by making it a greener campus.

Miners Planting Globally

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