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A Teacher Looks at Advent of Code 2020 - Day 2

Day two introduced some staples of staples of not only Advent of Code but also of programming problems in general. The first is input parsing. For this problem you get lines of input like this: 1-3 a: abcde 1-3 b: cdefg 2-9 c: cccccccc or in general number_1-number_2 Letter: String There are a few ways to handle this. One is to brute force it. In Python maybe something like: sample_line="4-15 f: abcdefg" sample_list = sample_line.
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A Teacher Looks at Advent of Code 2020 - Day 1

So, yesterday I was chatting with my daughter. She was talking with her team and for some reason one of them pulled out an interview question from their company's question bank. Turns out it was today's Advent of Code problem. As with past years, I'm going to try to solve the problems in Clojure but if I can will talk Python when I talk about solutions. Part 1 of the problem basically asks for you to find a pair of numbers in an array that sum to a specific value.
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Advent of Code 2020

Tomorrow, or more practically, tonight at Midnight, Eric Wastl will once again launch the Advent of Code. As I've written before, it's a month long event where each day a new programming problem is released. The problems range in difficulty and complexity. Some are very approachable to beginners and some are crazy challenging. I've written a bunch about AOC in past years: Solve A to Solve B Data structures and Hidden Complexity Tools can shape- how we think 2019 day 1 2019 day 2 2019 day 3 2019 day 4 2019 day 8 2019 day 8 addendum and a few more not listed.
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CS Teacher Prep - the big picture and the long game.

Time to follow up on my last post and all the surrounding discussion. To be honest, I was a bit surprised at first to see that many posters were all for what I consider a weak program. I think all of us agreed that you want and need a gentle entry - you have to be accessible to teachers with little or even no prior computer science experience but I was taken back by the number of teachers who thought it was fine to have a graduate level program where the teachers end up with no more knowledge than a high school student taking APCS-A.
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Teachers Can Learn CS and CS people will go into teaching

A friend's post brought my attention to a new graduate CS Education Certificate program. It's not a New York State program so isn't in competition with what I do but it's the type of program that I was afraid of. The type that will hurt CS education more than it will help. There was enough discussion following the Facebook post that I thought I'd write about it here. Before talking about the program itself, one issue that came up multiple times in the Facebook thread is that old red herring - we can't teach teachers real CS because if they know the real deal they'll all go into industry.
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Language choices for APCS

Over on Facebook the semi-regular "is APCS-A going to Python" once again appeared. I'm not going to get into Python vs Java. Each language giveth and each language taketh away but it got me thinking about the history of language changes. I titled this "Language choices for APCS" not APCS-A because back in the day it was just APCS. At some point that split with APCS-A being similar to what we have today and APCS-A being that plus a CS2 (data structures) class.
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Election Thoughts - feeling hope but still concerned

I don't usually talk politics on this blog but it is the news of the day. We truly are at a turning point in this country and we should all be concerned with the road we take. Yesterday the media outlets called the election for Biden/Harris. It's not over but I thought this would be as good a time as any to share some thoughts and more importantly concerns.
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53 trips around the sun

In the 10 plus years of this blog I've never done a post on my birthday. Okay, maybe I've written one on my birthday but never talked about it. Why this year? No particular reason. Maybe because I'm getting older. I'm 53 today. Devorah will turn 54 in a month - from there one year until she can retire. I can follow a year later. I'm pretty happy with what I'm doing but it's nice to know that in two years I'll have a lot of options on the table.
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Less Engagement For More

I think many of us are finding student engagement to be one of the more challenging aspects of remote teaching. I sure am. In person it's much easier to have in class discussions. You can read faces and body language, move around the room, encourage cross discussion and, well, you know, teach in the usual sense. Much harder on Zoom. The default behavior isn't a room of people all together but rather a bunch of individual teacher student connections.
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Getting the word out on Hunter CS in 2020

As we move through Fall, I'm missing one of the most draining but at the same time one of my favorite parts of the year. School recruiting visits. When I came to Hunter, I started the Daedalus CS Honors program. We started small but now, each year, we take in about fifty students, give them a laptop and a scholarship and all sorts of extras and bring them in for a great CS education at a fraction of the cost of say NYU or Columbia.
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