A New Way To Learn Computer Science

CMU Team Earns Catalyst Prize From Schmidt Futures for Work on Learning Tool

METALS grads Ember Liu and Neil Thawani created the award-winning RecapCS tool for high school computer science teachers.

A team of Carnegie Mellon University learning scientists are developing a tool that could change the way high school teachers and students approach their computer science classes. This month, Schmidt Futures announced that the team is one of the winners of their Futures Forum on Learning: Tools Competition. This award will fund tools to aid recovery from pandemic learning loss and advance the field of learning engineering.

The tool, RecapCS, was created by Ember Liu and Neil Thawani with support from John Stamper, an assistant professor in the Human-Computer Interaction Institute. Liu and Thawani both graduated from the HCII’s Master of Educational Technology and Applied Learning Science (METALS) program, which trains graduate students to become learning engineers and learning experience designers. The pair met in a METALS capstone course, where they discovered a shared passion for computer science education.

Teachers and students can use the RecapCS interactive dashboard to identify problems, assess learning and lend support through a community forum.

"There is a heavy workload for teachers. It's difficult to track learning, and many teachers are not experts themselves. There is also the issue of equitable access to computer science education," Thawani said. "We wanted to address all of these problems at the high school level because that's cognitively when students are able to think more abstractly, one of the fundamental practices of computational thinking."

Read the full RecapCS story on the CMU News website.

For More Information
Aaron Aupperlee | 412-268-9068 | aaupperlee@cmu.edu