Institute for Personal Robots in Education Blog

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Reflecting on the survey results

On August 1st, my much worked on survey was finally closed and it was now time to analyze the results. I must say that a lot of the survey results paralleled with my hypotheses. These include people's agreements with the fact that robots do, in fact, make computer science more interesting; how only a small fraction of people's entire class would enroll in computer science when it was first offered and how over 90% of their classes were male; how one of the major reasons that women tend not to enroll in computer science courses is because they fine the environment uncomfortable etc. Sadly, I still look for the reason that women find this environment uncomfortable and many would say that the reason is because computer science is a male-dominated field, but why is the field male-dominated in the first place? The search remains...

A few results from the IPRE Survey

A survey on computer science education was put up a few weeks ago. Here is a link to a copy of the IPRE Survey.

The IPRE Survey was closed on August 1st at 12:00 PM. There were a total of 280 people who took the survey. 25.3% of these participants were between the ages of 18-22; 13.5% were between the ages of 22-29; 21.4% were between the ages of 30-39; 15.7% were between the ages of 40-49; 17.8% were between the ages of 50-59; 6.1% were over 60 years old.

• The main reasons why women tend not to enroll in computer science courses:

Fill out a survey and enter to win a free Robot!


As part of the computer science research this summer, we have come up with a survey in order to gain insights about the human perspectives on various aspects of computing. Please follow the link below and take a few minutes to complete the survey:

Fill out the Survey

Thank you for taking the time to participate in this important research.

Initial thoughts about Alice

While looking through Google for articles to add to the database, I came across one that describes middle school student experiences with Alice. Alice was developed by Carnegie Mellon University to introduce computer science to students in a fun, interactive manner and they do so by creating a 3D animated programming interface. After learning that Alice was successful in attracting students to computer science, I played around with Alice myself. Even though I enjoyed it, it strikes me that Alice may lead to turning students away from computer science.

Studies show that Alice has been capable of increasing student interests in computer science. While this is seen as advancement in the field, I think it may have a drawback. Alice is an attractive interface and therefore is easily able to hook students on to computers. Therefore, even though Alice may be able to lead students into taking more computer science, further courses in computer science may end up disappointing students if they do not find it attractive enough. Further advanced computer science courses are not similar to Alice and may lead students to believe that they didn’t have the right idea about the field in the first place. I understand that this is quite a negative approach towards Alice even though I have actually always liked the idea of having an interactive, attractive interface. Therefore, it would be interesting to actually look into how many students get attracted to computer science through Alice and then actually end up studying further computer science. It would also be interesting to think about how Alice can be used as an incentive to make advanced computer science courses more interesting. However, if studies show that Alice is definitely retaining computer science students and not disappointing them, I think that it is a great idea to be used as an introduction of computer science.

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