It's always been a challenge to get students to buy in to an out of class communication tool. Over the years I've tried many including mailing lists, Piazza, Discourse, Vanilla and other discussion forums, Slack and probably a few other things.
I guess it's not surprising that it's a hard sell - prior to the internet once school was out kids there as no teacher student interaction until the next school day and kids would only interact with their direct friends.
Beyond the CS specifics We've been primarily using three tools in our summer certification program.
Zoom for video conferencing Slack for text based communicaiton GitHub for just about everything else We use GitHub as a CMS - a place to share code and assignments as well as collect them. We're also playing with GitHub discussions although that's fallen somewhat to the wayside with Slack being preferred. One of the choices I'm digging more than ever is GitHub Classroom for assignments.
I woke up to this tweet by Mark Guzdial today:#pro-version-or ed-version.org#
An indication that CS Ed in US high schools is about vocational training: 2 (of 5) recommended sessions at the @csteachersorg conference are on Github and Agile. Is @CSforAll a Silicon Valley jobs program? https://t.co/n8ugnmTU84
— Mark Guzdial (@guzdial) May 28, 2020 This led to a lively discussion throughout the day with lots of likes and lots of comments.
As we scrambled to move online in March we used what we knew, what we heard of and what we were allowed. This usually meant Zoom, Google Meet, or Microsoft Teams.
I settled on Zoom. It worked and worked pretty well. There were a few things I felt they could improve on but given that Zoom wasn't designed as a teaching tool I've been pretty happy with it.
A while ago I wrote about a small side project - GitHub Org Explorer - a small tool to make it easier to manager GitHub repositories based on organization. I'm using it as a replacement for the GitHub provided Classroom Assistant. I find it more flexible in terms of exporting assignments to my own machine and it allows me to delete repos en masse which is critical after the semester is over.
I'm a big fan of GitHub Classroom and use it for all of my class assignments. It's great for organizing, distributing, and collecting assignments and gets the kids used to using real world tools at the same time. I've written a bunch of posts on how I use it:
How I use GitHub Classroom Communicating with Students - meybe GitHub to the rescue GitHub as a tool for education (part of a 4 part series) As well as a couple of others.
Since Hunter uses C++ as it's core language, I haven't used Java much in the past three years. That's going to change pretty soon. Once we start offering our CS teacher Certificate and Masters programs I'll once again start teaching with Java as that's one of the langauges that we want to prepare our teachers with.
That means deciding on a set of tools and so I've been spending time evaluating Java programming environments with an eye on the beginner since not only do the teachers I work with have to be comfortable with the tool but more importantly they will have to be able to support the tool for all of their students.
It's been an amazingly unproductive weekend. Mostly because I've been sick with the flu. It sucks but since the rest of the family's away anway at least I'm not making everyone miserable.
I did manage to stage my next couple of classes and figured that writing this post wouldn't take too much energy since it's mostly a video.
Earlier, I talked about using GitHub and TravicCI and this time around I show how I use GitHub classroom to set up, disseminate, and collect assignments.
Earlier today I was reminded why I love GitHub in support of my classes. One of my students posted a question about our current lab. They posted a synopsis of the problem along with the error message.
Since we're all working on GitHub the student's work was already up online Since I started using GitHub Classroom I was able to quickly navigate to the repo. This might have been enough but to really in to the students work I cloned the repo and went into Emacs.
I've been using GitHub with my classes since GitHub's early days. Over time I've gotten my workflows down. I use a combination of shell scripts - many just written on the fly, GitHub organizations, and some naming conventions and protocols that have served me well. A few years ago, the GitHub Education team started GitHub Classroom. I looked at it at the time. It was pretty cool but I had my workflow so I didn't adopt it.