Computer Science 4 High Schools – Day 1

Session 1: Computer Science for Beginners

Tim Bell, University of Canterbury. Computer Science Field Guide

Focus on “demonstrating understanding of basic concepts from computer science” (.44 standards).

Changes – not about computers about people, people beginning our students, got to be good for our teachers, and satisfying for the people that use software. Enabling people to do their best. Change costs, will affect teachers most, it is risky, difficult. I’m in the 5% that says ‘bring it on!’. Massive rate of change!

It is about people! About making the world a better place.

What is Computer Science? Who would be happy defining what is it?

ACTIVITY: Error correction card trick (Level 2 – photographexample odd / even, achieved at Level 2)

  • cards  – black / white representing binary code
  • grid 5 x 5, then extra row / column added 6 x 6  – 6th is layer of redundancy
  • parody – even, checking data, incorrect code.
  • credit cards – adding up of numbers, if not certain number then know it is not the right credit card number
  • Data stored over the internet – slide example
  • Forward error correction
  • parody card grid

Computer Science Field Guide – open source, can download and do whatever you want with it.

Teacher Guide – contact me if you want the link to the teacher guide, don’t want to post link in case students find it.

9. COMPLEXITY AND TRACTABILITY – example, 14 cities, 9 years, software can be used to sort out quickest route, company in Chch

  • Ecomaps app – example of above
  • Tractability – it would solve it but is not workable / solvable
  • “a tractable problem is one which we can write programs for that finish in a reasonable amount of time, and an intractable problem is one that will generally end up taking way too long.”
  • can’t just through more hardware at problems, programs are part of it, not an end in itself, it is what we are making happen that is interesting
  • exposing students to the ideas of computer science, look at companies like ?intellegncet??
  • high school definitions – not Wikipedia! paraphrasing won’t work either!!
  • what wouldn’t work if it wasn’t for computer science? tractability
  • make it visible to students!!

Big words for simple ideas.

Computer programming is about making software – example Google.

  • Writing a program for 2 interfaces??
  • Search in Google – difference between something random and something that would have been searched for already to do.
  • L1 Algorithms – how can get to happen really quickly


  • A ‘catcha’ error.
  • companies are after team players, not ‘computer geeks’ who are quiet, introverted.
  • companies are desperate for more people to get into computer science
  • Google want really rounded people

The Imposter syndrome – truth is that we are all imposters as we cannot know everything about CS. Partciulary appliles to women.

Janina Voigt


From @muddicea:


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s