I noticed a tweet the other day talking about gamification of education. It got me thinking.
Gamification isn't specifically the hot trend right now, at least not as "the one true way" to teach but every few years it surges as this great new idea to fix education.
When it surges, it's always the hot new thing but it never really is.
Gamification has been around at least since I was in grade school and it was never a magic bullet.# COMMENTS
Back to calling an audible.
Around seven years ago I was visiting with some former students at Google in Mountain View. One of them from way back in the late 90s, Pawel, out of the blue said there was one lesson I taught that was particularly memorable. Not memorable in the "that was fun" way like maybe my Halloween adventures but memorable in that he felt he got a lot more out of it than a normal lesson.# COMMENTS
This post by my friend Alfred caught my eye yesterday. It's a good post - some good examples of inserting student creativity even into small intro level assignments. While I like the post and agree with the sentiment of open ended, student driven projects, I had to take issue with the lead quote Alfred used: “If you assign a project and get back 30 of the same thing, that’s not a project, that is a recipe.# COMMENTS
I've written about how long it takes to become a master teacher and that even after 9 or 10 years most teachers are really just advanced beginners. A big reason for that is our long feedback loop. You do something and you can't do it again for a year.
I was listening to a podcast on my morning run by the Hudson River and something came up about differences between quantities of items.# COMMENTS
Our teacher certification program is in full swing. All day every day through the end of the month. We finished off the first course about a week ago and are currently covering data structures and methods - teaching methods that is.
All day every day is pretty intense and doing it on Zoom doesn't help so we try to change things up. As with many Zoom based classes, we make use of breakout rooms for small group work.# COMMENTS
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.# COMMENTS
We've been talking sorting and searching in our teacher certification program and today was all about the merge sort. One of the strategies we use when teaching it in person involves sorting a deck of cards by Tom Sawyering it with the class. It's fun and it's effective but you can't do it over Zoom. What to do? We didn't want to just jump into the nuts and bolts of merge sort.# COMMENTS
Many teachers are reluctant to try new things. Sometimes it's a bad case of "I'vealwaysdoneitthisway-itis." Sometimes it's not being comfortable with the new way or not having the time to develop whatever happens to be needed for the lesson and sometimes it's even coming from a good place. What's that good place? Concern - if I try this new way and it doesn't work I'm going to lose some students and never get them back.# COMMENTS
Every few years the experts give us some new magic bullet, some new teaching fad research based pedagogical technique. Teachers are trained in it, forced to use it - frequently as a one size fits all. If we do, we're good teachers, if we don't we get the dreaded ineffective on our annual ratings.
I was reminded of this when reading Mark Guzdial's recent blog post on things he got wrong in Computing Education.# COMMENTS
I was working on writing a midterm the other day so figured I'd talk a bit about my test grading policy.
Before getting to the specifics, let me set the stage. I spent most of my career at Stuyvesant - a public magnet school in NYC. There are many great students who are interested in learning but there's also a focus on grades. and this leads to a non-insignificant portion of the student body that is grade obsessed and will do everything and anything for every point possible.# COMMENTS