Session #04

Arnold Pears (Sweden) & Jim Ridgway (England)

Why Computing Education, and Especially CT, Needs a Broader Perspective! - Arnold Pears (Sweden)

Computing education has focussed on introductory programming, nearly to the exclusion of all other CS content, a mistake that plagues the discipline. Computational Thinking (CT) runs the risk of making a parallel error by focussing on aspects of computation unique to the imperative programming paradigm and sequential execution. An inordinate focus on loops, sequences and alternation runs the risk of impoverishing the computing discipline, and by ignoring vital areas such as concurrency and data parallelism, runs the risk of educating future generations in an obsolete programming tradition.

Arnold Pears is Professor and Chair of the Department of Learning in Engineering Sciences at the KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Sweden. He also holds a professorship in Computer Science at Uppsala University, Sweden. Professor Pears received his BSc(Hons) in 1986 and PhD in 1994, both from La Trobe University, Melbourne, Australia.

In the late 1990’s, Together with colleagues Dr. Berglund and Prof. Daniels, Prof. Pears established the UpCERG research group in computing and engineering education research at Uppsala University. As foundation professor at KTH he has lead research in all areas of technical and engineering education since 2017. His recent work includes several articles on computing in schools. He has published over 100 articles in leading Computing and Engineering education journals and conferences. He has delivered a number of keynote addresses, and is well known as a computing and engineering education researcher through his professional activities in the ACM, and IEEE.

Contributions to the academic and professional community include his roles as a member of the Board of Governors of the IEEE Computer Society 2012-2014, where he is active coordinating education conferences; serving on the steering committee of the Frontiers in Education Conference and as Chair of the Special Technical Community (STC) for Education. In addition, he is a Director of CeTUSS (The Swedish National Center for Pedagogical Development of Technology Education in a Societal and Student Oriented Context, and the IEEE Education Society Nordic Chapter. He also serves as a reviewer for a number of major journals and conferences, including the Computer Science Education Journal (Taylor and Francis), the ACM SIGCSE and ITiCSE and Koli Calling International Computer Science Education conferences.

Recent publications include „Does Quality Assurance Enhance the Quality of Computing Education?“, in the Proceedings of the 12th Australasian Computer Science Education Conference, 2010, and models for research driven education in Computing, „Conveying Conceptions of Quality through Instruction“, in the 7th International Conference on the Quality of Information and Communications Technology, 2010.

Prior appointments include, lecturer and senior lecturer at La Trobe University between 1991 and 1998. Since 1999 senior lecturer at Uppsala University, Sweden where he was awarded the Uppsala University Pedagogy Prize in 2008, and promoted to Associate Professor of Computing Education Research in May 2011, and Professor in 2017. Roles at Uppsala University include appointment to the University Academic Senate, Programme Director for the IT Engineering programme, member of the selection committee for the Uppsala University Pedgogy prize and as member of the educational advisory board of the Faculty of Technology and Natural Sciences.

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Education for a fast-changing world: Conceptions of Statistical Literacy and Data Science - Jim Ridgway (England)

The data landscape is in a continued state of flux. New sorts and sources of data emerge from new creators; new ways to interact with data are created; we ill-understand the ways new information shapes beliefs and actions. Here, I will map out some of the elements in the evidence ecosystem – producers and consumers, both well- and ill- intentioned. What do students need to learn, if they are to navigate this brave new world? We will explore the needs of future citizens in their roles as spectators, referees and players in this ecology, and consider how well these needs map onto conceptual frameworks describing statistical literacy, and data science.

Jim Ridgway is an emeritus professor at Durham University, with a background in cognitive psychology. Past work has included the creation of materials to develop mathematical thinking on undergraduate courses in the USA, creation of computer-based materials to identify students in poorly-supported communities who have a flare for STEM (subsequently used in 20+ countries), work with the House of Commons Library to provide (huge amounts of) data accessible to citizens via their phones (along with some gamification), design and delivery of the first OECD workshop for politicians and policy makers on evidence-informed decision making, EU-funded projects on girls and STEM; and ProCivicStat, an Erasmus-funded collaboration between 5 countries which has developed materials to engage students with issues such as poverty, migration, gender inequality and racism.

A current project entitled firing up the epistemological engine plans to use AI (and conventional methods) to challenge some current research practices and conclusions in science and medicine.
Latest book: Teaching Data Science and Statistics  (eds. MacGillivray, Gould, Ridgway Special Edition of Teaching Statistics (vol 43, Summer 2021)
Forthcoming: J. Ridgway (Ed.),  Statistics for Empowerment and Social Engagement: teaching civic statistics to develop informed citizens. Springer.

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