Keynote and Essays

Keynote Speeches

  • The Invisible Programmers (Slides Version).
    Conference on Methods, Materials and Tools for Programming Education, Tampere, Finland, May, 2006.

    The visibility of personal computers and the internet hides the fact that most software development is done for embedded systems in industry and commerce. Software engineers in these environments are required to have a different approach to software than is currently taught in most computer science curricula.
  • The Concorde Doesn't Fly Anymore
    Thirty-Sixth SIGCSE Technical Symposium on Computer Science Education St. Louis, MO, February, 2005.

    Talk of a hi-tech internet-driven revolution is inaccurate from a historical perspective: it belittles previous technological achievements, and so much of the �new� technology dates back thirty years or more. This loss of historical perspective has led to demands for an artifact-driven curriculum which I believe is inadequate.
  • How Did They Get to the Moon Without PowerPoint?
    Computer Science Days of the Finnish Computer Science Society, Espoo, Finland, May, 2003.

    Historical perspective on "hi-tech": NASA amazing achievement of the Apollo moon landings was achieved with computer technology of the '60s. The "new" Internet technology was invented in the '70s. My conclusion is (of course) that CSE should focus on concepts and not on trendy artifacts.
  • From theory to experiment to practice in CS education. Kolin Kolistelut - Koli Calling: 2nd Annual Finnish/Baltic Sea Conference on Computer Science Education, Koli, Finland, October, 2002.
    A survey of the work of our group on research in computer science education.



  • LPP Meets ERCP. A parody of Lave and Wegner (1991) Situated Learning: Legitimate Peripheral Participation.
  • Aunt Jennifer (English, Hebrew).
    This play was first performed at ICER 2010, the Sixth International Computing Education Research Workshop, held in Aarhus, Denmark, August 9-10, 2010. The talented actresses were Sally Fincher and Päivi Kinnunen. It tells of Tiffany, a high school student who refuses to see that learning computer science will likely ensure a brighter future than hanging out at the mall.


  • Non-Myths About Programming.
    This essay is based on my keynote speech at the Sixth International Computing Education Research Workshop, held in Aarhus, Denmark, August 9-10, 2010. The talk began with the presentation of a short play Aunt Jennifer (see above). The decline of interest in studying computer science is usually attributed to a set of perceptions that students have about the subject. Many educators react to these perceptions as if they were myths and try to refute them. I believe that the perceptions of students are roughly true when looked at in isolation, and that the proper way to address these non-myths is to look at them within the context of "real life."
    The essay was published in the Communications of the ACM 54, 7, 2011, 35-37. DOI=
  • Objects Never? Well, Hardly Ever! (English, Hebrew).
    This essay describes my disillusionment with object-oriented programming.
    The essay was published in the Communications of the ACM 53, 9, 2010, 32-35. DOI=,
    and in Hebrew on the website of the Israeli Computer Science Teachers Center.
    See also the discussion on Mark Guzdial's Computing Education Blog.
  • McKinley's Amazon.
    This essay was inspired by Thomas Standage, The Victorian Internet, which compared the hype about the internet today with the hype about the telegraph in the mid-nineteenth century. I compare the remote commerce described in the 1897 Sears catalog with the electronic commerce of Amazon today.
    This article are originally published in Inroads�SIGCSE Bulletin 38(4), December 2006, 75-77. DOI=