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[转载]计算机编程成为美国中小学热门课

已有 5417 次阅读 2015-1-31 14:40 |系统分类:生活其它|文章来源:转载

在教育领域,几乎有这样一种定势:一旦某种职业技能在社会上前景光明、势头强劲,就会有人将之改装成适合中小学生学习的课程版本,让孩子们从小接触这些“吸金”技能。随着科技行业兴起,编程课程正在美国中小学间走红,并红遍全美。的确一些孩子能将编程这门技术玩得很好,他们将更早展现才华,但对于更多孩子而言,这项扎堆参与的新课外活动,真的比打游戏更有益么?


文/MATT RICHTEL 翻译/王湛



在加州米尔谷的编程活动上,12岁的伊姆兰·哈利克在帮助他的弟弟,7岁的法尔汉(左)以及6岁的艾丹·布朗


加州米尔谷——上个月,7岁的小学二年级学生乔丹·莱尔和家人参加了一场人满为患的课外活动,活动旨在为学生培养一个新爱好:计算机编程。


“我有点担心他会落在别人后面,”他的母亲温迪·莱尔说,这是他们报名参加斯特罗伯里波因特小学(Strawberry Point Elementary School)这个辅导班的原因。


一场全国性计算机编程教育运动正在不断扩大,此次活动就是其中的一部分。根据Code.org网站,自去年12月以来,从幼儿园到12年级,共有2万名老师开设了编程课。


Code.org是一家由科技行业支持的组织,提供免费的课程。除此之外,大约30个校区已经同意在秋季增设编程课,主要是高中,但也包括低年级。九个州的决策者已经开始给计算机科学课设定与数学和理科等基础课程相同的学分,不再将其作为选修课来对待。


相关的课外活动也在开展,比如在米尔谷的这次活动。活动中,从幼儿园到五年级的90个学生和70名家长围在计算机旁,通过动画智力游戏来学习计算机逻辑的基本知识。



在加州米尔谷的活动中,同为8岁的奥德丽·黑根(左)和阿梅莉亚·弗林特学习编程



这是计算机科学教育的一个显著改变,几十年来,计算机科学一直受到冷遇,地位与木工课等职业技能课程相差无几。但如今,智能手机和应用程序无处不在,软件工程方面的就业机会炙手可热。


对于许多家长来说——尤其是居住在科技走廊核心地带的家长——编程不像是一种课外活动,更像是一种基本的生存技能,说不定哪天可能让你得到一份不错的工作,甚至一夕暴富。


编程教学的普及虽然刚刚开始,却呈现出“前所未有之势——教育领域从未有过如此迅速的行动”,密歇根大学教育和计算机科学教授埃利奥特·索洛韦说。他认为这是一个非常积极的现象,可能会激发学生们培养新的爱好,或许就像学习青蛙解剖可能会让更多孩子立志成为外科医生和生物学家那样。


不过,一些人也对让儿童过早接触编程的做法发出警告。


目前还不清楚,在小学讲授计算机科学的基本知识是否会对未来的工作有帮助,也不清楚这能否培养学生总体上的创造力和逻辑思维。索洛韦说,尤其是对年幼的儿童来说,这种活动更像是视频游戏——比模拟枪战高级一些,但不太可能学会真正的编程技能。


一些教育专家对这个行业的大举投入表示担忧:一些大型科技公司及其创始人,包括比尔·盖茨和Facebook的马克·扎克伯格,已经为Code.org投资了大约1000万美元(约合6255万人民币)。Code.org提供资金培训高中老师,让他们能够讲授更高级的课程,此外,对于年龄更小的学生,该组织还开发了一套专门的编程课程,把基本的教学内容融入到了《愤怒的小鸟》和《植物大战僵尸》等视频游戏中。


这些课程不讲授传统的计算机语言,而是使用简单的文字指令——比如“前进”或“向右转”——孩子们可以通过点击和移动的操作,让一只小鸟抓住一只猪。


这项活动并不缺少硅谷的那种“我们正在改变世界”的营销狂热。科技创业者约翰·皮尔斯说,这对美国的经济具有战略意义。他和另外一名创业者杰夫·利恩创办了非盈利组织MV Gate,把Code.org开发的适用于小学生和家庭的编程课程带给米尔谷。米尔谷是一个富裕的郊区,与旧金山之间隔着金门大桥。


皮尔斯说,家长们乐于看到孩子们在电脑上做他们认为有意义的事。“无数家长对我们说,‘我不能让我家孩子再玩电脑游戏了’,”他说。但如果孩子们在研究编程,家长们告诉他,“‘编一晚上我也没意见。’”


这个想法吸引了二年级学生詹姆斯·米赞。他和妈妈参加了12月份由MV Gate支持的“代码时刻”(Hour of Code)活动。他的妈妈凯伦·米赞是当地家长教师联谊会(PTA)主席、前科技行业高管,目前经营着一家房地产公司。她和几名当地校长都非常支持编程课程。


她说,她的儿子在学校表现很好,但是没有找到自己特别的兴趣,也“不是操场上跑的最快的那个”。但他喜欢编程,每周至少花一小时参加MV Gate组织的课后项目CodeKids。该项目已经在米尔谷的五所小学开展。


八岁的詹姆斯解释说,编程就是“让计算机自己做事”。他说这很有趣,此外,如果他做的好,说不定能够让计算机突然死机的时候自动重启。他的妈妈说,他发现了自己的兴趣点;在编程上,“他是跑的最快的那一个”。


活动过程中,现场的孩子都全情投入,移动着基本的指令模块,让愤怒的小鸟抵达目标,然后使用稍微复杂一些的命令,比如“重复”,并学习“if-then”语句——一个基本的编程概念。


使用这些文字命令块来简化编程的逻辑,这很大程度上源于麻省理工学院媒体实验室的研究成果。这个实验室2007年引入了视觉编程语言Scratch。该机构声称,这种编程语言已经有数百万用户,但大多数都是学校以外的用户。


后来,2013年出现了Code.org,它借鉴了Scratch的基本想法,旨在向学校和决策者传播这个概念。Code.org创始人、前微软高管哈迪·帕尔托维说,每个学校都应该教授编程。他说编程非常必要,就像“学习重力或分子,电学和光合作用”一样。


Code.org称,已有2万名老师注册该项目。曼哈顿华盛顿高地社区五年级的数学和自然科学老师阿兰娜·亚伦是其中之一。她去年在一个职业发展会议上听说了这个项目,在获得了校长同意之后,她放弃了原本打算教授的长达两个月的关于陆地的地球科学课程,将其换成了Code.org的课程。


“计算机科学现在很重要——在美国和全世界都是如此,”她说。“如果我的学生们没有接触到这样的东西,他们可能会错过潜在的机遇和工作机会。”


(转载自《纽约时报》中文网)


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School Leaders Mostly Mystified by Computer Science Education


ByDian Schaffhauser02/02/15

 

Low-incomeschools are less likely than higher income schools to offer computer science(CS) classes. In all schools where computer science courses are part of thecurriculum, there is no standardized set of learning standards. And most of thetime CS classes are categorized as electives with a vocational slant. Theseresults and others surfaced in a survey administered by the Computer ScienceTeachers Association (CSTA), a membership organization that promotes theteaching of computer science and other computing disciplines.

Thesurvey was issued online to 20,000 secondary school leaders across the country;503 people responded.

Ofthose, 77.5 percent reported that their schools offer CS courses, but thosecourses tend to be more common in the better-funded ones. Of the 27 percent ofschools where a majority of students qualify for free or reduced lunch, six of10 have CS courses. In the 44 percent of schools where the majority of studentsdon't qualify for free lunch, eight of 10 offer CS classes. In lower incomeschools with CS courses, four of 10 also offer after school or extracurricularprograms in the subject. At higher income schools, that count was much higher —10 of 10.

Theterm "computer science" boggled some respondents. When asked whichkinds of CS classes their schools provided, some answered, "businessmanagement," "yearbook layout," "artificialintelligence," "robotics," "office applications" and"automated design."

"Thisbroad use of 'computer science' to encompass curriculum and courses that wouldnot be considered 'computer science' at a college/university or professionallevel indicates a need for educational community consensus on a commondefinition of computer science education and curricular content," thereport's authors stated.

Onlyfour in 10 schools count a CS class towards a requirement in math, science ortechnology; the remainder tends to count it as an elective. This becomes aproblem, the report noted, because "electives are often culturally andacademically regarded as filler classes in a student's schedule." Also,electives don't tend to count toward college admittance.

Themost common CS class offered across the board in high schools is Web design anddevelopment, followed by introduction to computer science, computer graphicsand programming. The top 4 content areas covered in the curriculum of the CScourses are problem solving in 65 percent of the classes, ethical and socialissues and graphics, tied at 57 percent, and Web development at 51 percent.Areas considered "core" to CS, according to the organization, such astesting and debugging and analysis of algorithms, came in much lower on thelist — 34 percent and 32 percent, respectively. 

Thereport's authors offered several observations based on the findings of theirsurvey. 

Inlower income schools, a solid third have no computer science whatsoever, versusonly 16 percent in higher income schools. Because the "development"of a computer scientist is a multi-year "pathway," the fact thatstudents in lower income schools have little or no access to CS over the courseof their high school years "puts them at a disadvantage for both futurecollege and career pursuits" and perpetuates a "vicious circle"for students who are economically disadvantaged.

There'sstill a "huge misunderstanding of what CS is and what it isn't" atthe high school level, the report said. Without a standardized set of CSofferings, colleges and universities "will continue to resist adding CScourses as accepted math or science credits for admission." At the sametime, students in those schools without a solid CS program will enter college"woefully behind" others.

Finally,there's a "misperception" on the part of many schools that"simply exposing students to technology as a tool or offering an hour ofprogramming experience is equivalent to offering them the true CS educationpathways that are needed to make students college- and career-ready."

Theorganization recommended four calls to action:

Highschools begin counting computer science courses toward graduation requirements;

Schoolscome to an agreement about computer science curriculum and what commonstandards would be for all states and districts;

Administrators ensure that computer science classes count toward a math or science credit; and

Anational funding plan be created to give all students "equitable access tocomputer science education."

Thestudy was funded by Oracle Academy, which provides free software, curriculum,and other resources to schools.

Thestudy's results are available (as is a a PDF data summary) on the CSTA site.


本文转载自: http://thejournal.com/Articles/2015/02/02/School-Leaders-Mostly-Mystified-by-Computer-Science-Education.aspx?Page=1






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