Before we say why you should use peer instruction, we should give you a hint about what I mean by peer instruction. I need to say, I love the technique, it's got the world's worst name, sounds very general, peers instructing other peers. In fact, when I say peer instruction, I'm actually referring to a very specific technique in the classroom or pedagogy taught by this guy, Eric Mazur. He's a physicist at Harvard. So, we're going to go into more detail about this but that high-level idea behind peer instruction in the classroom is that you have students engage with a challenging question around the topic you want them to learn, and you have them commit to answering it through something, whether that's raising their hand for something, clicking is commonly used in university settings. Whatever it is but students have to answer the question and then also they discuss or instruct their peers. Discuss the question about why did they answer what they answered and why did they answer it that way. So, let me give you my little pedagogical warning. The data I'm about to show you next does not come from the K-12 setting. It comes from the university setting. The reality is we do have some of the strongest evidence of any pedagogical approach that peer instruction is very valuable on teaching computing in university settings. We have very limited data from K-12, but I'll explain why later we think that the reason that make it good in university will probably also make it good in K-12. All right. So, graphs, let's have some graphs of, yeah, there's nothing on that graph. This is a technique I recommend that you use when you have very complex things and you put them up. Students like, eyes go all over the place and they don't know where to start. So, I'm going to help you interpret how to read this graph. So, let's start at the top. We're going to see two colors of bars, blue and green. Blue is going to be traditional whatever happens in the classroom and we can't necessarily define what those bits usually like a tree rate, and then we have the peer instruction approach. On the y-axis, we have the fail rate in the class. Now, this is odd because failing a class is bad. So, in this case, lower is better. Then what we see along the bottom is that we actually are going to have four different classes at the university. In intro programming course, we call those CS1. Second introductory programming course, a theory of computation course which is upper division or junior and senior year, and an architecture course, which is the same and most show on average. So, drum roll. How did peer instruction fair to compare to standard instruction in terms of the number of students who failed? There we are. We'll give you a minute to look. So, we can just look at the far right and say on average across four different classes, and by the way, this wasn't just one instance of each class. I think there were about nine total instances of the peer instruction classes, but and we compared against a 10-year average, yes 10. For the standard instruction, 20 percent of people fail the class on average, but when we use peer instruction, it was only seven percent. That's darn. That's a lot of improvement. You don't see that improvement a lot. The other thing you might ask is "Well, wait. With just the good instructors who did." Well, we actually had four different instructors where they taught the same class using regular lecture and that same course using peer instruction. We saw that actually even amongst an individual instructor, their fail rates went down when they switched to doing peer instruction. So, it's not just about like who is teaching, it's about how they're teaching. So, this should be exciting to you because you can get benefits by changing how you teach. Finally, those were fail rates. What about how students perform on a metric that shows their knowledge, if we think in some way, maybe a final exam. So, this showed a single instructor teaching the same course materials, exact same design for everything except for whether what was happening in the lecture hall, and whether it was the standard lecture versus peer instruction with students in the peer instruction clustered about five percentage points higher on the final exam, so half a letter grade. Pretty significant. So, why do we use peer instruction? Well, I just showed you numbers. But let's talk about why we do it from a theory perspective? Why might we think this was even going to work, even though we don't have knowledge for K-12? And not just because it's based on the theory of constructivism. Maybe you've heard of this line theory, maybe not. It's not constructionism, it's constructivism but okay, we'll just talk about it. What it mean? Well, the opposite of constructivism is this. It's a Calvin and Hobbes comic, which basically says, "If I just say it in the classroom, then it goes into your brain and you've learned." So, the goal of the learning situation is that I say it and you absorb it in some way. Maybe the top your head is cut off. But of course, we know that's not true because we make comics out of it. Of course, that doesn't work. But yeah, think about your common university lecture halls. Okay. Anyway, constructivism basically says it's a theory of learning that is brain-based, which says, you know what? Our brain is a biological thing. It's made up of neural connections that fire and connect with things as we learn new stuff. So our brain is really a muscle. We need to think of it as a muscle and it is a biological system that in order for us to learn, it has to change, okay? Speaking of muscle. Which of these do you do when you want to get more fit? Do you actually go out and exercise or do you sit and watch other people exercise? That would be kind of like going to a lecture and watching the professor solve problems. Anyway, I think we know what the answer is there. Pretty clear. So, what you want to think of is this pure instruction approach where you provide students some code to analyze or a question that gets them thinking hard and gets their brain muscles going and you require them to record their answer and discuss it with each other. This is the equivalent of weightlifting for learning, okay? We want to get that brain muscle engaged and challenged so that your brain changes. All right. So, that's the theoretical background. Let me tell you about the three reasons particularly in computing and programming that I think using peer instruction really helps with. The first is what I call it exposes what's called the hidden curriculum. This is an educational term and that basically says that we teach you one thing but there's actually some other stuff that you either actually need to know or also need to know in order to succeed but we don't teach it directly. So, the issue here is that when we ask students to write programs, we involve them in doing program, right? They're building that program. They're doing stuff. The question would be, are there monkeys on computers? Monkeys could probably produce the same programs with a given amount of time. So, the knowledge we want them to gain, the skills we want them gain isn't just hopefully tested by doing things. We actually want them to be able to think about their code in ways that are important for computing people or for people whose everyone to understand about how the programs work. So, the clicker part is that people have to explain their thinking to each other. They're reading and analyzing some question about code not just creating code. The second thing that's really important is "Gosh, darn it." Here are practices that are from the Computer Science Teachers Association National Recommended Standards for K-12 computing. So, this is what kids in all of K-12 should learn. I'm not looking at the particular topics. They have the content areas or the concepts, but these are the practices. Look at number five; creating computational artifacts. That's creating programs or other things. That's important but so is number seven; communicating about computing. That says that all students no matter whether they're going to a software engineer or something else, need to be able to communicate about computing. Think about this. You need to be able to talk to your IT person to describe to them what problem you're having and understand what they're saying to you. So, peer instruction gets people communicating about technical material. CSforALL always improving. Finally, my third reason I really think peer instruction is really helpful in a computing classroom is we often said and I've mentioned that we have students with diverse backgrounds in programming or computing in our classes. That's going to be a challenge we have for a while. So, one of the things that peer instruction can do is it can help bridge these diverse backgrounds. You can put kids in groups of three, maybe with one student who knows a little bit more and they can help each other learn. Another thing that happens is as we'll learn later, the students aren't just discussing in groups of three, you're going to have a classroom share out where students explain their thinking, say they're thinking out loud to other students in the class, and I've seen it in my classes this year at the university, the beginning of the terms, students don't have really good explanation skills, but some of them have do a little better and those students we'll talk and the other students hear that and they're like, "Oh, you can explain. You can talk about it in that level of detail. That's what a good explanation sounds like." So, we can help bring everybody together when we have students of diverse backgrounds. So, here's the three key reasons that I think you should use peer instruction.