Csed

Professional Development - APCS-A, similar and beyond

A while ago I wrote about our plans at Hunter to run professional development for CS teachers. Specifically, running once a month sessions for teachers who teach APCS-A, similar and beyond. The idea started as a joke but morphed into a legit idea. I was talking to some friends about CTLE hours and how ridiculous the system is. NY State teachers need 100 hours of CTLE credit (PD hours) every so many years.
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Teaching Sorting

Earlier today I saw a facebook post asking for thoughts on teaching sorting. The question was specifically not about motivations like having the class act out sorts or sort cards but rather about the coding. I've been meaning to write about this since last summer when I attended Owen Astrachan's talk on the same subject. Early in my career when teaching sorting I developed the n^2 sorts as standalone routines just as they're presented in most books but as I gained more experience as a teacher, I changed it up to build the sorts (at least some of them) from existing concepts.
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Globals Breaks And Returns, oh my

Never use global variables Never break out of a loop These are two "best practices" that are frequently touted in early CS classes both at the high school and college level. They came up a couple of times yesterday. Once in the Facebook APCS-A teachers group and once on Alfred Thompson's blog. Alfred post was topically on global variables. Actually it was deeper than just global variables. It's also about how students progress - what they can figure out at various stages of progress and how what seems like a good idea early on the path to computer science doesn't seem so great later on.
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When the students know more than the teacher

We've heard it many times with computer science - "the kids know more than the teacher." On the one hand, the truth is that this isn't so much the case. Kids might use computers all the time but they don't necessarily know much about them or about computer science (link 1, link 2). Then you have students who think they know all about CS but really don't. They might have picked up a bit of coding somewhere but more often than not, the knowledge is pretty superficial.
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Fall 2018 HS CS Tour

I've written before about why Hunter College CS is so important for NYC and I've been working hard to develop our Daedalus Scholars honors CS program - a program in which students receive a scholarship along with all sorts of special opportunities to add on to their in class CS education. The program and Hunter CS as a whole have made a lot of progress over the past two years and each year I roll out new special activities and events for my honors students.
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CS vs CT vs Coding

There's been a lot of buzz recently concernting Computational Thinking (CT) vs Computer Science (CS) vs Coding / Programming on the interwebs. Some of the questions and concerns that I've seen recently include: What is CT?? Will rich schools get CS and poor only CT? Will rich schools get CS and poor on coding? The first question is a big one and as a community we haven't answered it yet.
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