Video response HLpaper 3

· Tieandjeans:iX

Okay. I'm watching NES Hacker's How Zelda Saves Your Game, and I have to think about the relationship between what I keep trying to have kids do in these assignments and the 12 mark question on paper 3.

My assertion: My goal with assessment is to determine if this.human_being, the student, has a reasonable model of this incredibly broad knowledge domain. For me, as a teacher, at this point, I care so much more about their comprehension of the broad conceptual domain of these IBCS topics. This is Topic 2 "inside computer" and Topic 3 " "networks"

By fundamental conception, I mean the main idea of what we're talking about. For networks, that's probably: Conceive of a network as a collection of independent devices communicating over a packet switched networks according to publicly defined protocols over privately owned infrastructure.

Honestly, I care more at this point about some nebulous, holistic understanding of that system rather than details on any one point. I assert that I should be able to give a student an object from that domain and evaluate tehir understanding by the fluency of their response far more than by the acronym level accuracy.

So I have suggested as an "assessment" that you watch some videos and tell me about this. "Why am I watching a video about Mario 64?" is a reasonable question to ask. The purpose of this assignment is to suggest that if you know a sufficient amount about Topic 2, then this Mario 64 video seems very relevant.
One way to think about what an explainer / response should do is to answer the question "Why is Mr Carle showing me this?"

This is about topic 2, and you can tell it's about topic 2 because here, I'm gonna talk about I'm gonna IO in the English sense on topic 2 for as long as I want, and I have something to say about that.

And so, like Zelda saves your game is a great example because it starts with a concept that you obviously know something about because you are a human who uses a computer in the year of our Lord 2024. It is perhaps quaint to think about individual computers saving data, but it happens on your devices every day.

I have tried to ask these questions for a long time. They're all over Paper 1. with markschemes that say "RAM is volatile" and that primary storage is the persistent part, the one that can maintain data in some other durable fashion.

Those are the Quizlet questions that everyone memorizes. ROM is read only and RAM is random access.

If you know "how computers work", you should just be able to, with a few minutes to think it through, describe how what we mean by computers "saving" data with specificity and granularity. It's not that you need to know three specific file encodings, and the importance of the MBR and specific RAID levels. Start a story with when my finger hits CMD-S, and take falsifiable, specific guesses.

Many of you would prefer a different teacher pattern, where first I tell you the Three Ways Computers Save Data, and then I ask a test question that says "List three ways computers save data. [6]"

Instead, I'm asking you to talk and write about The Legend of Zelda.

This little clip, and the 10 minute masterpiece it's pulled from, tell a compelling story about "how computers save data." If you wanted to produce an explainer/response/conversation, you would need to use the specifics of this example and the IBCS language explain / illustrate some Topic 2 / Inside the Computer stuff.1

This is exactly the skill set tested by IBCS HL Paper 3.

Paper 3 is centered around a Case Study that is published for a particular set of test administrations. The IB chooses a new domain every year, and they publish a narrative Case Study . But you have to just learn about that domain. So this year it was robots and positioning system.

So the the important part of it is is, SLAM and vSLAM. The one before was about optimization of non deterministic algorithms, primarily genetic algorithms. In each IB publishes the ≈8 page Case Study, full of Psuedo-context IB Learner Profiliteers talking through some scenario in the domain.

Each Case Study thing exists for 2-3 test cycles, os the current RescueRobots was used in M24 (yesterday!) and will be used again in November 24. The purpose of the Case Study is to present a page long vocab list with enough of narrative that students see the words used in context.

For me, this is a perfect LLM conversation -- fixed domain, easy external references, value breadth over specific detail-- except for the fact that kids don't read from the LLM like that. You can kinda quizlet it. But the problem with quizletting it is as with almost all Computer Science, we're just using metaphors anyway! Memorizing somebody's metaphor is relatively useless if you don't know what the metaphor means. So memorizing where virtual memory is or memorizing a particular, mnemonic for OSI or acid.

Like, it's a good thing/ problem with the IB exam. Just studying the shit out of it kinda works. There's not a lot of depth required on the IB exams. Ahmit published his "90 Days to a 7" and that is a generous schedule. But that kind of acquisition is SO MUCH EASIER if you've thought about computers enough develop a mental model for what these things are and do. Develop that structure, and all of a sudden there are tons of places for the words to hang.

Paper 3 exists because the IB knows that that is a skill that needs to be part of this process. There needs to be a level of I need to find out about Topic_X. And to the extent that kids on the discord always ask "how much original research do I need to have done?"" and think that's like an IB Psych paper, where you have to memorize citations. As opposed to being, did you learn enough about it to be able to just talk about it?

That is "the big essay question," is a misnomer but CS kids generally don't like to write (love you M23SL!) The last question of ever Paper 3 is a 12 mark essay. To a second approximation, the prompt is some form of "explain which parts of the problem domain are relevant through this filter."

The case study is basically along vocab list, and the first ≈12 points are "Define vocab term" "compare/contrast vocab terms"

Sometimes there's a mechanical piece. In the genetic algorithms one, they they had a 6 mark question where you had to perform an iteration of a crossover. But otherwise, that's it. Know the vocab, be able to answer questions about the domain. The 12 mark "essay" is always some form of "explain what you know about the domain through this lens."

But when the kids ask, "what's going to be on the test?" they mean which vocab terms. Paper 3 is designed to make you LEARN SOMETHING NEW well enough to answer questions about it.

The way you practice for Paper 3 is not memorising vocab, but practice systematically learning something new.

Here are two topics that you should know about for this course - what computers ARE, and how they CONNECT. That's Topic 2 and Topic 3.

I would love LOVE to see someone do a an CS In Context presentation on any Bismuth video. You could walk us through some niche Linus "we upgraded our network" video. Show me that you see the invisible computer world, the network part or the inside the CPU part in the world around you.


  1. Which stuff? Choose your favorite chunk. How much? To the best of your knowledge ability and within 5 hours. ↩︎