Despite the central role of computation in our society and economy, the underlying science is absent from the secondary curriculum in Victoria. While rigorous formal content is taught in VCE mathematics and science, the VCE IT curriculum focuses on vocational skills. Many students choose not to enrol in tertiary computer science degrees because they fail to realise the programs contain a body of knowledge that can lead to diverse and rewarding employment opportunities.
The Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority (VCAA) has recognised this problem and is working with Monash and Melbourne universities to create new units in computer science. In order to increase access to computer science different models of delivery are required. Moving away from face-to-face delivery presents challenges in delivering a new curriculum via blended learning and remote assessment. The project aims to address these key challenges.
This project, supported by Google, is orientated around a graphical programming language called Snap! which will form the basis of a platform to establish an educational platform and evaluate its effectiveness for delivering tertiary computer science content at secondary level. The project team are extending the functionality of Snap! supporting the logging of student programming and engagement in fora to provide assessment and to develop ways to tailor teaching that adapt to the complex interactions between attitude, engagement, gender and achievement.
Linked to this is increased support to teachers, many with limited computer science training, in the use of the platform to develop their role of teacher as facilitator. It is envisaged that this program will increase the uptake and interest of students in computer science and related careers.
- Steven Bird - Department of Computing and Information Systems
- Wally Smith - Department of Computing and Information Systems
- Shanton Chang - Department of Computing and Information Systems
IBES Seed Funding