Category: CS Ed
Yesterday was the last day on our first course for teacher certification. A programming course similar to a college CS1 - think APCS-A. We're now moving to a data structures course.
There are a few reasons for this. First, it's depth of knowledge. The most advanced class a high school student will normally take would be APCS-A. Data structures is the next course. A teacher should have studied a topic to a greater depth than the students.
Last Friday concluded the summer portion of Hunter's CS Teacher Certification program. It was an intense month. All day every day from June 28th through July 30. On the one hand between burnout and covid fatigue it was a tough month and I'm dealing with some much needed recovery this week. On the other hand, working with JonAlf, Topher, new team member Genady along with around 25 amazing teachers and teacher candidates made it a highlight of the year.
There's been a lot of chatter recently about the first programming language to teach. First, I read a Facebook thread focussing on Java, C and C++ and then, presumably unrelated, Mark Guzdial posted this which lead to another Facebook discussing and then yesterday I noticed a Twitter thread started by someone in the Bootcamp world asking people what their first language was which resulted in answers ranging from JS to PHP to Perl to a bunch of others.
A common refrain against requiring CS in our K12 schools is that we don't have the teachers and we won't any time soon. Sure, we don't right now but we won't if we don't do something about it.
The question to ask is "how long will it take" and "how do we get there?"
Let's look at New York City. We've got approximately 1,000,000 students in our public schools.
Episode 2 of the CS Ed podcast had Dan Garcia talk about exam creation. This wasn't a podcast about the value of exams - in class, high stakes or otherwise. In fact Dan says in the podcast it would be great to "get grades out of the equation. Grades are gonna be an impediment to learning." But recognizes that we have not say in this most of the time (and I'll add that though I agree grades can and do perform a function) so we should be creative in terms of assessment.
I saw a couple of posts the other day about the CS Ed Podcast. Kristin Stephens-Martinez of Duke interviewed (or will interview) six CS educators on a variety of topics. There are four posted so far:
David Malan Dan Garcia Amy Ko Mark Guzdial Before I started I thought I'd listen to a few and then share some thoughts but I found so much to unpack in the second episode where Dan talks about testing that I decided to share my thoughts on the first episode, then Dan's and then see if find anything to comment on in episodes three and beyond.
When I was writing the I Speak Jive post, the first thing I had to do was find those old programs. It turned out to be harder than I thought. I found online versions but it took a while to find this GitHub repo.
On the way, I seemed to recall that these might be bundled with a bunch of old BSD games so I took a look at the BSD games package for Linux.