I hope this is the right forum to ask this question.
Last friday I was in a discussion with my professors about the students' lack of motivation and interest in the field of Computer Science. All of the students are enrolled, but through questionnaires and other questions that my professor posed it was revealed that over 90% of all enrolled students are just in it for the reward of getting a job sometime in the future (since it's a growing field with high job potential)
I asked my professor for the permission to take over the first couple of lectures and try and motivate, interest and inspire students for the field of Computer Science and programming in particular (this is the Intro to Programming course). This request was granted and I now have a week to come up with a lecture topic for my professor's five groups.
My main goal isn't to teach, I just want to get students to be as interested in the field as I am. I want to show them what's possible, what awesome magical things have been done in the field, the future we are heading towards using programming and Comp. Sci.
Therefore, I would like to pose this question: I have a few topics, materials and sample projects that I would like to talk about:
- Grace Hopper (It is my hope to interest the female programmers in the class. There are never more than two or three per group and they, more than males, are prone to jumping ship and abandoning Comp. Sci.)
- The Singularity Institute
- Alan Turing
- Programming not as a chore or a must, but the idea that we are, at our core, the nexus to which anything anybody does in the digital world is connected to. We are the problem solvers; we assemble all the parts together and we are the ones that, essentially, make the vision a reality.
- Give them an idea for a programming project which, through the help of the professor, could be significant to every student (I want students to not only feel interested in the topic, but they should feel important, that what they do here makes a difference)
Do you have interesting topics worthy of discussion, something I can tell the students which they can get interested about? How would you approach the lecture? If you had 90 minutes worth of time to try and get students interested in the project, what would you do?