Call For Participation

Elementary Patterns
and their Role in Instruction

A ChiliPLoP'98 Hot Topic

What Are We About?

Have you ever tried to use patterns to reach an audience without much technical background? Have you ever written a wonderful pattern but had difficulty helping others to use it, because they lacked some knowledge that your pattern took for granted? Have you ever run across a set of patterns in the literature and tried to introduce them into your organization, only to find that your colleagues needed help getting "up to speed" before they could use the patterns?

If you can say 'yes' in response to any of the above, then you will want to consider attending the workshop on elementary patterns and their role in instruction, to be offered as a part of ChiliPLoP'98. Read on for answers to these questions about the Hot Topic workshop:

What Will We Do?

There are many ways to look at patterns. An especially useful way to think of patterns is as a tool for teaching. We don't use patterns blindly; we learn them. Patterns are all about learning new techniques, understanding when and how to use them.

This workshop will explore the teaching side of patterns, especially patterns appropriate for novices learning in more formal instructional settings. We will demonstrate how patterns can be used in such settings. We will also evaluate some elementary patterns that are in use and try to determine what makes a pattern suitable for novices.

Our goal is to explore how to use patterns effectively to teach novices. One of our primary means toward this end will be to learn by doing. We will produce a prototype or two: the design of a course organized around patterns, or a set of curricular materials for such a course, or a pattern language for teaching some elementary topic. Two focus groups of three or four people each will work together for much of the workshop to create these artifacts, which will then be reviewed by the whole group at the end of the workshop. Topics of the focus groups will be selected based on the requests to participate and the strengths and interests of the selected participants.

In the end, our artifacts may or may not prove useful beyond the workshop itself. But, even if they are not, we will have learned something about the use of patterns to teach novices and, we hope, have increased our chances of succeeding in future attempts.

For more on the ideas underlying this workshop, see the complete Hot Topic proposal.

How Will We Do It?

Our initial plan for the workshop is given below. Once participants in the workshop have been identified, they will engage in discussion to tailor the goals, activities, and schedule of the workshop to their own strengths and interests.

Pre-Workshop Preparation

Day 1

Day 2

Day 3

Who Should Participate?

We hope to attract 6-8 highly motivated and experienced teachers, pattern writers, and software developers to work on this hot topic at ChiliPLoP. To this end, we invite requests to participate from:

How Do I Apply?

Submit a request to participate by e-mail to Eugene Wallingford by Monday, February 16, 1998. You may submit ASCII text, HTML, or a URL where we can find your submission. Your proposal should be three to five pages long and might include one or more of the following:

If you are invited to participate, you will be expected to:

What Are The Important Dates?

The dates to watch for are:

February 16, 1998

Submit your request to participate by this date.

February 23, 1998

We notify all applicants whether they have been accepted to participate or not. Workshop participants commence e-mail discussion to tailor the goals and activities of the workshop.

February 23, 1998

We will make all resources submitted by the participants available on the web for reading and discussion.

March 17-20, 1998

We gather at the Wickenburg Inn and (set out to) accomplish our goals!

How Do I Find Out More?

For more on the ideas behind this workshop, see the complete Hot Topic proposal. And feel free to contact the workshop organizer:

Eugene Wallingford
Department of Computer Science
University of Northern Iowa
Cedar Falls, Iowa 50614-0507

Eugene Wallingford ==== ==== February 4, 1998