Media Computation: Introducing Computing Contextualized in Video and Audio Processing


March 17, 2008


Mark Guzdial


Georgia Institute of Technology


The manipulation of pixels and samples to create video effects (like chromakey and the Star Trek “Transporter”) and audio effects (like echoes and reversing), that are commonly used in gaming, serves as a successful context for introducing computing. Several research studies have shown that students find the Media Computation approach relevant and motivating. Experience at different institutions, with several hundred students, shows that the approach leads to increased success in first courses. We have used this kind of approach to teach introductory computing to undergraduates, data structures to undergraduates, some high school classes (like CS AP), and to serve as a bridge from environments like Alice into more traditional programming in Java or Python. The approach integrates well with other innovations, such as IPRE’s use of Media Computation primitives to process images from the robot’s camera. This talk will introduce the approach and describe both the introductory and data structures courses, including a description of some of the algorithms that students implement in the course. I will present some of the evaluation data that we have collected over the last five years.


Mark Guzdial

Mark Guzdial is a Professor in the School of Interactive Computing in the College of Computing at Georgia Institute of Technology. His research focuses on learning sciences and technology, specifically, computer science education research. He has published four books on the use of media as a context for learning computer science. He received the Ph.D. degree in Education and Computer Science from the University of Michigan in 1993. He serves on the ACM Education Board as vice-chair, and is on the editorial boards of the “Journal of the Learning Sciences” and “Communications of the ACM.”