Computer Science Education

Posted May 12th, 2010 at 1:45 pm.

Rebecca Rebhuhn-Glanz
Mentor: Dr. Doug Blank

In the last few years, the number of students studying or majoring in computer science has dropped dramatically. Many students see computer science as hard and boring. In response, researchers at Bryn Mawr, Georgia Tech, and Microsoft Research have developed Myro, a program aimed at making computer science accessible and interesting to students through the use of robots. To this end, it enables educators to teach their introductory courses in a programming language that does not require students to worry about every last semi-colon and curly bracket, but still allows them to cover the basic concepts of programming thoroughly enough to allow students to move on to more traditional and sophisticated languages without difficulty. I am helping adapt Myro to work with several programming languages commonly used in introductory courses, as well as creating a new graphical programming language (tentatively named Dinah) that will allow students to design animations, games, and other interactive programs, and to communicate with a robot. This should make it easy for educators in other schools to use Myro in their own classes, and will attract more students to computer science.

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