ISSEP 2015
September 28 – October 1
Ljubljana, Slovenia

Plenary speakers


Tim Bell

Tim Bell is a professor at the University of Canterbury in Christchurch, New Zealand. His Computer Science Unplugged project is widely used internationally, and its books and videos have been translated into about 18 languages. Recently he has been actively involved in the design and deployment of new computer science standards in New Zealand schools, and has run many teacher training events in New Zealand, Australia, and elsewhere.

Title of talk: Surprising Computer Science

Much of what we can do with Computer Science seems like magic, such as searching billions of items in a fraction of a second, or decrypting a secure message without needing to know the key that was used to encrypt it. Other parts are surprising - surely given a fast enough computer we can find the optimal solution to a problem? This talk will investigate magical and paradoxical ideas in computer science, and how it relates to Computer Science education.

Maria Knobelsdorf

Maria Knobelsdorf is a professor for Computer Science Education (CS Ed) at Universität Hamburg, Germany. She is originally based in Germany where CS is taught in high schools since the 1970s. Sharing the expertise of her community, Maria lived in NY and worked at the NYC Foundation for Computer Science Education and the Bronx Academy for Software Engineering where she consulted in CS Education curriculum development, teacher training, and evaluation of K-12 CS Ed programs. She is the founding co-chair of the international research conference in primary and secondary CS education (WiPSCE) and serves in several program committees as a reviewer. Her research in CS Ed is based on sociocultural cognition theories and qualitative empirical research designs, her recent research projects include learning theories in CS Ed research and cognitive apprenticeship in Theory of Computation. In former projects she investigated student engagement for programming visualizations and biography research of computer usage. Maria graduated in CS at Freie Universität Berlin, where she also received her PhD in CS Education.

Title of talk: The Theory Behind Theory - Computer Science Education Research Through the Lenses of Situated Learning

Theories and concepts of how individuals learn play an important role in Computer Science Education (CS Ed) research because they not only affect which research questions we pose and what kind of data collection and analysis methods we choose, but more importantly influence the development of pedagogical concepts and interventions. This keynote introduces key characteristics of the situated learning approach and discusses from that perspective questions of pedagogy and educational research in Theory of Computation, and secondary CS Ed in the US (especially the New York City school district) and Germany. This discussion will exemplify how a change in learning theories alters the unit of analysis, thus reframing questions of educational research and pedagogy beyond knowledge acquisition.

Miha Kos

Miha Kos has been the director of and motivating force behind the first Slovenian hands-on Science Centre called Hiša eksperimentov, since its very inception in 1996. In 1992, Mr Kos defended his PhD thesis on Nuclear magnetic resonance imaging in the Earth’s magnetic field. In 1994, he conducted research work in Albuquerque, USA. After returning to Slovenia, he came up with the idea of establishing the first hands-on science centre in Slovenia. Besides leading and coordinating the work of the centre, he is active in the field of informal education, popularisation of science and learning, building new exhibits, writing scenarios for science shows on stage. He has also written scenarios to promote science TV shows.

Title of talk: Doubtology

Our society is facing a pandemic illness without a name but with clear symptoms: apathy in place of passionate curiosity, looking for a quick and easy way to learn instead of striving for in-depth knowledge, being compliant and conformant instead of thinking critically. This talk will focus on curiosity and critical thinking, two of the most important driving forces behind the learning process. What are we doing wrong during education which often seems to be stifling curiosity instead of nurturing it? How do we excite the power of imagination and curiosity and light the spark that will cause students to learn by themselves? Feeling curious already?