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C'est la Z

Category: teaching

Multiple Cameras For Remote Teaching

We used Zoom for remote classes over the summer but at this point, I've also used Coding Rooms, Big Blue Button, and Google meet as well. They each have their own strong points and failings but all are limited in terms of sharing multiple cameras and screen components. All will let you share your camera or share your screen and when you share you screen you can either share it all or a single window.
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Starting the new semester

Thursday was the first day of the new semester. The big change was that my classes were done remotely but there were also some other differences. Other changes were that I only met one of my two CS classes on Thursday. That's my CS0. I'm also teaching a recitation for CS1 which only meets once a week. I'll see those students as well as my CS0 students for a second time on Monday.
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Preparing CS Teachers - index post

Since we ended up with an eight post postmortem on our CS Teaching Certificate summer intensive I thought I'd add add an index page. Here are links to each post: Introduction - program overview On pedagogy - CS teaching methods Topics in Computer Science Deciding on which methods to teach Commentary on selected CS topics Tools for remote instruction Building a community of CS teachers The good, the bad, and what's next I also wrote a few posts as the summer intensive was running:
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Preparing CS Teachers - the good, the bad, and what's next.

Looking back, what worked and what didn't? Overall, things went very well. We were extremely happy with the cohort's growth and performance and based on feedback received they were happy with the program so far. I'll also say that while they're not finished yet, I can honestly say that every one of them would be a boon to any school in the city in need of a CS teacher (but they're not available since they're all already teaching CS at their respective schools :-)).
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Preparing CS Teachers - building a community

What so many non-teachers just don't get is culture and community can be so much more powerful than curriculum. The problem is, culture and community are harder to create, curate, and maintain and the results don't always show up on standardized tests. You can't force community or culture in a classroom but you can try your best to foster it. It's ultimately up to the class as a whole.
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Preparing CS Teachers - tools for remote instruction

Our summer intensive was supposed to be in person but COVID-19 changed that in a hurry. We had to scramble to redesign and figure out how we were going to run things. We decided to go with the following: Zoom for live meetings Slack for chat Git and GitHub GitHub classroom for assignments GitHub repos for code distribution, class website and resource sharing. GitHub discussions for off hour and long form discussion While Zoom is a great platform it was lacking in a few areas so we also ended up using: Padlet as a collaborative writing space for groups Assorted whiteboarding tools.
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Preparing CS teachers - Curricula don't add richness, teachers do

I've frequently been asked for curricula. I'll hear from a school or someone otherwise involved in a school or education and they'll ask for a course they can drop in and teach. I explain it doesn't work that way. A syllabus or curriculum is only so good. A great curriculum with a bad teacher will still be bad but a great teacher can do a lot to salvage a horrible curriculum.
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Preparing CS Teachers - what to leave in, what to leave out

Teachers always make decisions in their courses - what to leave in, what to leave out. I've seen programming and data structure classes where everything is written from scratch and others where a few things are explained and the students just use built in types like the java LinkedList or Arrays.sort() method. Do too much from scratch and you'll never finish the curriculum. Do to little and the students won't really understand what's going on and walk a path towards being programmers or coders rather than computer scientists.
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CS Teacher Certification - Topics in CS

Officially, the last course of the summer was "Modern Topics in Computer Science." The idea was that K12 CS teachers on the one hand need depth beyond the typical terminal high school course, hence data structures and also breadth so that they could create electives, mix teasers in to the regular courses, or help precocious students with independent or semi-independant explorations. If someone was teaching this in a typical fall or spring semester course, they'd probably have a list of topics and spend a couple of weeks on each.
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Preparing CS Teachers - adding methods to our madness

Our summer intensive was, well, pretty intensive. We met all day every day for a month and knocked out four classes. Programming (CS1) Data Structures Topics Methods If you ever took or taught a summer session class, you know that time is tight and generally you cover a little less than in a fall or spring semester class. N credits in 5 weeks just isn't the same as those same N credits spread over 13.
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