Shimon Schocken is a computer science professor and dedicated educator.
Shimon Schocken is a former dean at Interdisciplinary Center (IDC) Herzliya, a new Israeli private university which he helped found in 1995. He's also taught at NYU, Harvard and Stanford. Together with Noam Nisan he developed a freely available, open-source, self-paced program for learning applied computer science: The Elements of Computing Systems. Offered in 2005, this led to one of the first successful open online courses. Now, courses based on the approach are offered by traditional universities as well as in crowd-sourced settings, and have been taken freely by thousands of self-learners over the web. Registration, lecture and project schedules are managed by volunteer course coordinators, and student questions are answered by the course alumni community.
His current project focuses on developing instructional materials for early-age math education, which he thinks can be transformed using low-cost tablet computers. He uses his other life passion, mountain biking, to teach adolescent boys in Israelʼs juvenile detention centers valuable life lessons through challenging bike rides in remote locations. He was co-organizer and program chair of TEDxTelAviv 2010.
“I’m used to algorithms and data structures and super motivated students, and nothing in my background prepared me to deal with a raging, violent adolescent in the middle of nowhere.”
“It helps to ignore the immediate obstacles and raise your head and look around and see how the vista around you grows. … Or you can also look back in time and realize that you’ve already conquered steeper mountains before.”
“Educators don't necessarily have to teach. Instead, they can provide an environment and resources that tease out your natural ability to learn on your own.”
“Self-study, self-exploration, self-empowerment — these are the virtues of a great education.”
“Grading takes away all the fun from failing.”