The beauty & joy of computing | Dan Garcia | TEDxBerkeley



thank you so I'm Dan Garcia I teach computer science at UC Berkeley go bears so I'm going to talk about sharing the beauty and joy of computing with everybody computing has transformed our society from the laptops that we use to work and play to the smart devices that we have to medicine and surgeries to our homes and the Internet of Things to our communications GPS entertainment animation industries to disrupting transportation even self-driving cars and even contact lenses that measure your blood glucose levels so computing affects everyone and every field we need everybody fluent in computing and technology so they're not just passive users of it but active creators of it we need everyone not just computer scientists but farmers doctors lawyers politicians especially politicians everybody to know how computing works I'm a computer science educator I'm passionate about sharing this with as many people as I can so let me start at the beginning for me I grew up in New York City in the Bronx one of the five boroughs of New York it's a working-class extremely diverse community but there's always a kind of a chip on the shoulder so when you ask when someone asks you where you're from you have to say yo I'm from the Bronx you got a problem with that but the hands to see the hands is the key for that so I moved from the Bronx to upstate New York Cooperstown that's the home of the Baseball Hall of Fame how many of you have been to the Baseball Hall of Fame all right a couple of you how do you get there kind of drive and work on your hitting see it's the practice right okay when I was a coup percent I was really lucky to have what I believe to be the greatest teacher I ever had mr. white he was my math teacher and he had had no formal training in computing but what he did was he found the wherewithal to get a lab full of computers he taught himself computer science and he offered a computer science course so I was taking all these math courses doing well I loved it and almost said I took this computer science course and it changed my life I realized hey I want to be like mr. white and be a teacher but I also want do this stuff this was amazing so that was incredible and Here I am I go to college I live at Berkeley and I think back and I say well sure everybody that was 30 years ago I'm sure everyone has computer science in their high schools by now right right you think come on everybody has computer science 30 years ago I had it most everybody has the right yeah not so much this is a graph showing the high school Advanced Placement enrollment in different courses and you can see on the bottom the big number is history there's English and science are about a million each and way down way down on the long tail is computer science this is a couple years ago and what's worse is not just it's about twenty twenty-five thousand students taking compared to a million people taking history okay and you say well okay well maybe you know people don't want it now remember computer science in high school is usually for majors people who are intending to major in computer science in college are taking that course and moving on part of the problem is they don't look like the rest of the country so only 15 percent of those 25 thousand were young women and only 8% of people of color so something's wrong there that it's certainly not the case that everyone's getting access to it it's not the case well it's at every high school and if people don't want to do it now it's not the case at all it's mostly at rich suburban high schools that's not in the inner city for the most part so this is really an equity issue of trying to get computer science to everybody so we all realize the computer science and computing in general is the literacy of the 21st century but at the same time this course that's supposed to introduce the – it is only available in 5% of the schools and the problem is you have a five times more likely chance of having high school football than a computer science course that's crazy so the consensus is when we fix is got to fix it somewhere in the K through 12 pipeline well the consensus is to start in the high school Jan CuNi one of the leaders in the broadening participation in computing movement she's an NSF program officer she says you know they told me not to go to high schools but high schools where it's at because if you do something amazing in middle school and then and then and have nothing in high school it just drops out and if you decide to wait to college well people are already making the decision of what their major is going to be before they get to college so then anyone who didn't they won't even walk into the class you might have the most amazing awesome class come on everybody computer science a where they go and there's nobody there because they've decided before they got there that they were going to major in something else so you got to go to high school Jane Margolis who is one of the amazing sociologists at UCLA she looked at the Los Angeles Unified School District and she found dysfunction at all levels at high performing schools and rich schools and not so high performing schools and underserved schools and she said we can't even think we need to fix this so she created a new course called exploring computer science and they're trying to pass it around the country and they're doing a great job of it so how you make fundamental institutional change across the states it's really hard you're fighting 50 different fights but one way to have a single source of national leverage is to go with the Advanced Placement group with the College Board because they are everywhere so we sat back there was a conference in 2008 where we said we many educators in Chicago we said let's create a new course let's call it a computer science principles and let's introduce that course to everybody let's have it not just be the new course for majors but let's have it a non majors course so you take a course in high school that would be the equivalent of a non majors University course rigorous outstanding engaging and affecting everybody so we're really excited about that and I'm delighted to say that I'm serving on the development committee for their CS principals team and we're helping to bring the exam together it's going to go live follow 2016 spring of 2017 so what is CS principles the foundation is two pieces so it's founded on the idea of seven big ideas seven really powerful ideas in computer science from abstraction creativity data programming algorithms how the internet works and global impacts it's also founded on six computational thinking practices so that's what you do in the course this is connecting computing to other fields creating artifacts actually building things abstracting analyzing problems and artifacts communicating and collaborating it's awesome so that's the foundation and that's just a curriculum framework that's not telling you what to do every minute it's saying this is in general which should be covered kind of a syllabus and you can then build a course around that kind of hanging the meat stew the bones of this curriculum framework but you have to then get it to the world so the cs10k project says computer science 10k means ten thousand the hope is we get ten thousand teachers teaching either exploring computer science or CS principles in every high school in the country which would be great by 2016 so that's the cs10k movement so we came back to Berkeley we huddled and we said we got to build a course that's compliant with this that's awesome in the meantime let's read take our let's rethink our old non-majors course to have like this broader vision not just programming it was just programming before to have this really broad awesome vision and so my colleague at Berkeley Brian Harvey and my colleague at NC State Tiffany Barnes we huddled together we built the beauty and joy of computing and you see the logo with a smiley face to kind of capture that this course should be fun and rigorous and awesome and you should learn a lot about very deep ideas in computer science so what differentiates BJC from other initiatives that are also CS principles compliant is we take a little bit more of a programming centric lens to things when we worked with our students they say Dan the most fun I had in this course is when I was building something when I was programming and building my own project so we said all right let's kind of twist it so that they have a more programming centric focus on things we also use a graphical language call snap I'll talk about that a slider – and the exciting thing about that is we're not just having the same typos errors that most people have in their intro languages because you're doing a graphical drag-and-drop and I actually show some code well actually have an exercise here that'll show you what we do in our course and makes coding easier we talk about the unintended implications of computing technology so we kind of think about balancing positive negative issues with anything especially unintended locations like privacy concerns all resources are free most other people who are working on cieth principles curriculum also make their resources free so that's not unique that's not what makes be just a unique but we try to tap into all the resources so the view of the most underserved high school in the country there's no reason you can't adopt this curriculum and so we work with the beauty and the blown to bits book which is amazing it's a Creative Commons book out of MIT and Harvard and it's outstanding for talking about how transformational transformational things are when they go digital so we really stand on the shoulders of giants one is this curriculum framework is outstanding and so we're sending on that shoulder and doing a really good job because we think that's really dynamic and awesome we think the blown to bits book is amazing and just awesome in terms of having that be the reading for our students and we sent in the shoulder of the scratch team at MIT who's produced an amazing programming language for kids and we stand on their shoulders because we have taken that and added some things that are kind of more university friendly recursion the ability to create functions and functions as data functions aren't just things that are separate and datas over here functions can be data they can be first class so yen's Monique here is our lead developer he's amazing to make snap worldwide and really robust and it's in the browser so you can make you can use it on your smart devices on your iPads and you can make an actual mobile app in 90 seconds it's pretty cool and here's the example of showing a for loop which is really hard to build in other languages but easy for us so I'm going to show you an actual exercise we do in our class to teach the idea of recursion one of our big ideas so there's three blocks of code up there you see on the left is setup code it basically has the arrow head on the bottom right set up and pointing upwards and it's pen and it's tip is down it's kind of like a room by for walked around and kind of pain it's way on this red carpet it would draw if you taped a pen do it it would draw a picture that's what this sprites going to do then the main program is called V this V program is from Paul Goldenberg of EDC I'll mention you to see in a second and this idea is here's what V is going to do here's I'm the sprite my hands the sprite it turns 45 degrees moves out and then picks one of the blocks from that list students know that the shape of a list so that's a list of a square a hex and a star so it means I'm going to wiggle around but because my pen is down it means I'm going to draw a square a hex or a star then back up to 90 degrees and do it again go out pick from 1 to that list draw it move around and then back up and recenter and I start I end at the same place I started that's an important piece let's run this together shall we and go oh that's kind of cool look it went left and drew a star and then went right and waitlet and then drew a hex it's really great ok let's run it again oh now we're true a hex and a square that's fine and Paul's brilliant idea was what if we actually added V itself to the list now your brain sugar like whoa that's weird because V might go to the end and choose fee ah what would happen ok so let's just see let's run it let's just see what happens ok ready go and it oh it's the same thing it's the same thing well that's ok it just decided not to choose V totally cool let's try it again oh look at that so it went left and it chose V again and then a split to chose squares 2 squares that's cool ok so now let's run it one more time it's the same program I didn't change anything it just reran and created that so not only this course is called beauty and joy of computing for a reason not only is some of the output fractals and graphics beautiful but the code itself in recursions the first time in our course where the code itself is a thing of beauty and that's awesome so we've taught this at Berkeley to great success we have lots of data for 20 years of the percentage of women in our course the bottom wiggly lines are the non mage are the major courses and they wiggle around 20% the top wiggly line are the non major courses and their Wiggles around 35% doing pretty well in a non-majors course is the one before BJC after BJC we actually eclipsed 50% every other student was a woman in my class and I was so delighted with that that for the first time we actually had reached gender equity in our class and what I was so passionate about is that so many students came back and decided to give back to the course and decided to be teaching assistants to do that it's so inspiring for a young woman to look up to the teaching staff and see half of them look looking like them it's just awesome so the future of BJC is we're going with EDX we're going online I want to have Pat leonard nimoy passed away yesterday so I want to give some honor to him but the small private online course is we call it a Spock and the idea is we give this course online to the teacher and the teacher then has full control they can edit it and brand it and they can add their students to a forum which is safe cuz it's only their students it's awesome the teacher feels in control and this launches it's free and it launches Labor Day 2015 we're also giving back to New York City thanks to the NSF we're going to be granted to go and teach a hundred new young high school teachers to teach this course in their schools at New York City is one of the most diverse in all of the country it has almost 70% students of color so we're really excited to kind of come full circle I started in New York and I coming back to New York to give back to teach this course there we're working with EDC who's a curriculum development team to kind of polish our stuff and make sure it's totally ready for high schools so finally I want to give honor to mr. white has tragically passed away in 2007 but through our work and others in the cs10k movement we hope there'll be many more mr. White's who will take a risk and offer computer science in their schools with the goal of broadening participation to everybody in computing thank you very much you

7 Comments

  1. MrKingOfNever said:

    Where is the support for the claim that "we need everyone to be fluent in computing" and "computing is the new literacy?" Why, exactly do we need this again? How exactly does knowing how to write code help a doctor or lawyer do their job? We specialize in different jobs for a reason. During the industrial revolution, did everyone learn how to smelt iron? No, because just because it affected everyone's lives, doesn't mean everyone had to play a direct role in the process.

    June 25, 2019
    Reply
  2. Art Curious said:

    I enjoy Ted talks but we really need to get beyond this pathological fixation with disparity. There are differences all over the world that’s what makes life interesting. Expecting computer science enrollment to reflect the population is like expecting the NBA to reflect the population. Most of the population can’t dunk, is less than 6ft tall, and isn’t interested sports.

    Same with computer science, you can tell everyone to start coding and offer more classes that’s great. It’s like taking theater classes. But the reality is that only a certain segment of society is going to commit to coding as a profession and even less as a hobby. That’s a good thing. There’s a lot of subjects to explore, there’s more to life than chasing whatever the popular degree is.

    June 25, 2019
    Reply
  3. Seneca Manu said:

    I came here to be inspired, instead I got politics and equity.

    June 25, 2019
    Reply
  4. Musicellaneous said:

    Such a great video!!! 🙂

    June 25, 2019
    Reply
  5. MikeKay1978 said:

    I looked at some salary statistics and engineering was scoring pretty low, Software engineering was so so. you think that has anything to do with what people choose what to study? I even know people that have re-educated themselves from software engineering to become plumber or electricians, why? better paid and 8-16 work hours. Don't get me wrong CS is great but as a career. . . companies seems to make a real effort to make it unattractive.

    June 25, 2019
    Reply
  6. ChocoCookies said:

    This guy is amazing

    June 25, 2019
    Reply
  7. CAS TV said:

    Added to our conference keynotes playlist. 🙂

    June 25, 2019
    Reply

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